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Pi1i\tit of Victor Hugo (1861). 
Photogravure hy Goupil el Cie. From Photograph. 

Colonial Edition 

Things Seen 

j ^ ^ j j by Victor Hugo 

New York and Boston jft 
The Colonial Press Co. 
ji j> ji ji j> Publishers 









1842. FIBBCHI 48 



1843. JlOYER-COLLARD 61 



1845. VlLLEMAIN 73 






1847. LORD NORMANBT 144 















1850. AT THE ACADEMIE 227 


1853. HUBERT, THE SPY 233 

1858. TAPNEK 266 


1875. A RETROSPECT 293 







PORTRAIT OF VICTOR HUGO (1861) Fronfapwc* 









Hay 19. 

IN the Rue Saint-Florentin there are a palace and 
a sewer. 

The palace, which is of a rich, handsome, and gloomy 
style of architecture, was long called H6tel de 1'Infan- 
tado ; nowadays may be seen on the frontal of its prin- 
cipal doorway Hotel Talleyrand. During the forty years 
that he resided in this street, the last tenant of this palace 
never, perhaps, cast his eyes upon this sewer. 

He was a strange, redoubtable, and important person- 
age ; his name was Charles Maurice de Prigord ; he was 
of noble descent, like Machiavelli, a priest like Gondi, un- 
frocked like Fouch, witty like Voltaire, and lame like 
the devil. It might be averred that everything in him 
was lame like himself, the nobility which he had placed 
at the service of the Republic, the priesthood which he 
had dragged through the parade-ground, then cast into 
the gutter, the marriage which he had broken off through 
a score of exposures and a voluntary separation, the un- 
derstanding which he disgraced by acts of baseness. 

This man, nevertheless, had grandeur ; the splendours 
of the two regimes were united in him : he was Prince 
de Vaux in the Kingdom of France, and a Prince of the 
French Empire. During thirty years, from the interior 



of his palace, from the interior of his thoughts, he had 
almost controlled Europe. He had permitted himself to 
be on terms of familiarity with the Revolution, and had 
smiled upon it, ironically, it is true, but the Revolution 
had not perceived this. He had come in contact with, 
known, observed, penetrated, influenced, set in motion, 
fathomed, bantered, inspired all the men of his time, all 
the ideas of his time ; and there had been moments in his 
life, when, holding in his hand the four or five great 
threads which moved the civilized universe, he had for 
his puppet Napoleon I., Emperor of the French, King of 
Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, Medi- 
ator of the Swiss Confederation. That is the game which 
was played by this man. 

After the Revolution of July, the old race, of which he 
was the high chamberlain, having fallen, he found him- 
self once more on his feet, and said to the people of 1830, 
seated bare-armed upon a heap of paving-stones, " Make 
me your ambassador!" 

He received the confession of Mirabeau and the first 
confidence of Thiers. He said of himself that he was a 
great poet, and that he had composed a trilogy in three 
dynasties : Act I., the Empire of Bonaparte ; Act II., the 
House of Bourbon ; Act III., the Hovse of Orleans. 

He did all this in his palace ; and in this palace, like a 
spider in his web, he allured and caught in succession 
heroes, thinkers, great men, conquerors, kings, princes, 
emperors, Bonaparte, Sieyfes, Madame de Stael, Chateau- 
briand, Benjamin Constant, Alexander of Russia, William 
of Prussia, Francis of Austria, Louis XVIII., Louis Phi- 
lippe, all the gilded and glittering flies who buzz through 
the history of the last forty years. All this glistening 
throng, fascinated by the penetrating eye of this man, 
passed in. turn under that gloomy entrance bearing upon 
the architrave the inscription HOTEL TALLEYRAND. 


Well, the day before yesterday, May 17, 1838, this man 
died. Doctors came and embalmed the body. To do this 
they, like the Egyptians, removed the bowels from the 
stomach and the brain from the skull The work done, 
after having transformed the Prince de Talleyrand 
into a mummy, and nailed down this mummy in a 
coffin lined with white satin, they retired, leaving upon 
a table the brain, that brain which had thought so many 
things, inspired so many men, erected so many buildings, 
led two revolutions, duped twenty kings, held the world. 
The doctors being gone, a servant entered ; he saw what 
they had left: " Hulloa ! they have forgotten this." What 
was to be done with it ? It occurred to him that there 
was a sewer in the street ; he went there, and threw the 
brain into this sewer. 

Finis rerum. 





MDE TOGORES has just left my house. We have 
been talking of Spain. To my mind, geographi- 
cally, since the formation of the continents, historically 
since the conquest of the Gauls, politically since the Duke 
d'Anjou, Spain forms an integral part of France. Jose 
primero is the same fact as Felipe quinto ; the idea of 
Louis XIV. was continued by Napoleon. We cannot, 
therefore, without grave imprudence, neglect Spain. In 
illness she weighs upon us ; well and strong she supports 
us. It is one of our members ; we cannot amputate it, 
it must be tended and cured. Civil war is a gangrene. 
Woe betide us if we let it grow worse ; it will spread 
upon us. French blood is largely mixed with Spanish 
blood through Rousillon, Navarre, and Barn. The Pyre- 
nees are simply a ligature, efficacious only for a time. 

M. de Togores was of my opinion. It was also, he said, 
the opinion of his uncle, the Duke de Frias, when he was 
President of the Council to Queen Christina. 

We also spoke of Mile. Rachel, whom he considered 
mediocre as Eriphila, and whom I had not yet seen. 

At three o'clock I return to my study. 

My little daughter, in a state of excitement, opens my 
door and says, " Papa, do you know what is going on f 
There is fighting at the Pont Saint-Michel" 


I do not believe a word of it Fresh details. A cook 
in our house and a neighbouring wine-shop keeper have 
seen the occurrence. I ask the cook to come up. It is 
true ; while passing along the Quai des Orfevres he saw 
a throng of young men firing musket-shots at the Prefec- 
ture of Police. A bullet struck the parapet near him. 
From there the assailants ran to the Place du Ch&telet 
and to the Hotel de Ville, still firing. They set out 
from the Morgue, which the good fellow calls the Morne. 

Poor young fools ! In less than twenty-four hours a 
large number of those who set out from there will have 
returned there. 

Firing is heard. The houses are in turmoil Doors and 
casements open and shut violently. The women-servants 
chat and laugh at the windows. It is said that the in- 
surrection has spread to the Porte Saint-Martin. I go 
out and follow the line of the boulevards. The weather 
is fine ; there are crowds of promenaders in their Sunday 
dress. Drums beat to arms. 

'At the beginning of the Hue du Pont-aux-Choux are 
some groups of people looking in the direction of the 
Rue de TOseille. There are a great crowd and a great 
uproar close to an old fountain which can be seen from 
the boulevard, and which forms the angle of an open 
space in the old Rue du Temple. In the midst of this 
hubbub three or four little tricoloured flags are seen to 
pass. Comments. It is perceived that these flags are 
simply the ornamentation of a little barrow in which 
some trifle or other is being hawked about 

At the beginning of the Rue des Filles-du-Oalvaire 
groups of people look in the same direction. Some work- 
men in blouses pass near to me. I hear one of them say, 
" What does that matter to me ? I have neither wife, 
child, nor mistress." 

Upon the Boulevard du Temple the cafis are closing. 


The Cirque Olympique is also closing. The Gatt holds 
out, and will give a performance. 

The crowd of promenaders becomes greater at each 
step. Many women and children. Three drummers of 
the National Guard old soldiers, with solemn mien 
pass by, beating to arms. The fountain of the Chateau 
d'Eau suddenly throws up its grand holiday streams. 
At the back, in the low-lying street, the great railings 
and doorway of the Town Hall of the 5th Arrondisse- 
ment are closed one inside the other. I notice in the 
door little loop-holes for muskets. 

Nothing at the Porte Saint-Martin, but a large crowd 
peacefully moving about across regiments of infantry and 
cavalry stationed between the two gate-ways. The Porte 
Saint-Martin Theatre closes its box-office. The bills are 
being taken down, on which I see the words Marie Tudor. 
The omnibuses are running. 

Throughout this journey I have not heard any firing, 
but the crowd and vehicles make a great noise. 

I return to the Marais. In the old Rue du Temple the 
women, in a state of excitement, gossip at the doorways. 
Here are the details. The riot spread throughout the 
neighbourhood. Towards three o'clock two or three hun- 
dred young men, poorly armed, suddenly broke into 
the Town Hall of the 7th Arrondissement, disarmed the 
guard, and took the muskets. Thence they ran to the 
Hotel de Ville and performed the same freak. As they 
entered the guard-room they gaily embraced the officer. 
When they had the Hotel de Ville, what was to be done 
with it? They went away and left it If they had 
France, would they be less embarrassed with it than 
they were with the Hotel de Ville ? There are among 
them many boys, fourteen or fifteen years old. Some do 
not know how to load their muskets ; others cannot carry 
them. One of those who fired in the Rue de Paradis fell 


upon his hind-quarters after the shot Two drummers 
killed at the head of their columns, are placed in the 
Royal Printing Establishment, of which the principal 
doorway is shut. At this moment barricades are being 
made in the Rue des Quatre Fils, at the corner of all the 
little Rues de Bretagne, de Poitou, de Touraine, and there 
are groups of persons listening. A grenadier of the 
National Guard passes by in uniform, his musket upon 
his back, looking about him with an uneasy look. It is 
seven o'clock ; from my balcony in the Place Boyale 
platoon-firing is heard. 

Eight P.M. I follow the boulevards as far as the Made- 
leine. They are covered with troops. National Guards 
march at the head of all the patrols. The Sunday prome- 
naders intermingle with all this infantry, all this cavalry. 
At intervals a cordon of soldiers quietly empty the crowd 
from one side of the boulevard to the other. There is a 
performance at the Vaudeville. 

One A.M. The boulevards are deserted. There remain 
only the regiments, who bivouac at short distances apart. 
Coming back, I passed through the little streets of the 
Marais. All is quiet and gloomy. The old Rue du 
Temple is as black as a furnace. The lanterns there 
have been smashed. 

The Place Roy ale is a -camp. There are four great fires 
before the Town Hall, round which the soldiers chat and 
laugh, seated upon their knapsacks. The flames carve a 
black silhouette of some, and cast a glow upon the faces 
of the others. The green, fresh leaves of the spring trees 
rustle merrily above the braziers. 

I had a letter to post I took some precautions in the 
matter, for everything looks suspicious in the eyes of 
these worthy National Guards. I recollect that at the pe- 


riod of the riots of April, 1834, 1 passed by a guard-house 
of the National Guard with a volume of the works of 
the Duke de Saint-Simon. I was pointed out as a 
Saint-Simonian, and narrowly escaped being murdered. 

Just as I was going in-doors again, a squadron of 
hussars, held in reserve all day in the courtyard of the 
Town Hall, suddenly issued forth and filed past me at a 
gallop, going in the direction of the Rue Saint- Antoine. 
As I went upstairs I heard the horses' foot-falls retreat- 
ing in the distance. 

MONDAY, May IS, 8 A.M. 

Several companies of the National Guard have come 
and joined the Line regiments encamped in the Place 

A number of men in blouses walk about among the 
National Guard, observed and observing with an anxious 
look. An omnibus comes out upon the Hue du Pas-de- 
la-Mule. It is made to go back. Just now my floor- 
polisher, leaning upon his broom, said, " Whose side shall 
I be on ? " He added a moment afterwards, " What a 
filthy government this is ! I have thirty francs owing to 
me, and cannot get anything out of the people 1 " 

The drums beat to arms. 

I breakfast as I read the papers. M. Duflot arrives. 
He was yesterday at the Tuileries. It was at the Sunday 
reception: the king appeared fatigued, the queen was 
low-spirited. Then he went for a walk about Paris. He 
saw in the Rue du Grand-Hurleur a man who had been 
killed a workman stretched upon the ground in his 
Sunday clothing, his forehead pierced by a bullet It 
was evening. By his side was a lighted candle. The 
dead man had rings on his fingers and his watch 
in his fob-pocket, from which issued a great bunch of 


Yesterday, at half-past three o'clock, at the first 
musket-shots, the king sent for Marshal Soult, and said 
to him, " Marshal, the waters become troubled. Some 
ministers must be fished up." 

An hour afterwards the marshal came to the king, 
and said, as he rubbed his hands, in his Southern accent, 
" This time, Sire, I think we shall manage the business/* 

There is, in fact, a ministry this morning in the 

Midday. I go out Firing can be heard in the Rue 
Saint-Louis. The men in blouses have been turned out 
of the Place Eoyale, and now only those persons who 
live there are allowed to enter the street The rioting is 
in the Eue Saint-Louis. It is feared that the insurgents 
will penetrate one by one to the Place Royale, and fire 
upon the troops from behind the pillars of the arcades. 

Two hundred and twelve years, two months and two 
days ago to-day, Beuvron, Bussy d' Amboise, and Buquet, 
on the one hand, and Boutteville, Deschapelles, and 
Laberthe, on the other, fought to the death with swords 
and daggers, in broad daylight, at this same time and in 
this same Place Royale. Pierre Corneille was then 
twenty-one years of age. I hear a National Guard ex- 
press regret at the disappearance of the railing which 
has just been foolishly pulled down, and of which the 
fragments are still at this moment lying upon the 

Another National Guard says, " I myself am a Repub- 
lican, as is natural, for I am a Swiss." 

The approaches to the Place Royale are deserted. The 
firing continues, very sustained, and very close at hand. 

In the Rue Saint-Gilles, before the door of the house 
occupied in 1784 by the famous Countess Lamothe-Valois, 
of the Diamond Necklace affair, a Municipal Guard bars 
my passage. 


I reach the Rue Saint-Louis by the Eue des Douze- 
Fortes. The Rue Saint-Louis has a singular appearance. 
At one of the ends can be seen a company of soldiers, 
who block up the whole street and advance slowly, 
pointing their muskets. I am hemmed in by people run- 
ning away in every direction. A young man has just 
been killed at the corner of the Rue des Douze-Portes. 

It is impossible to go any farther. I return in the di- 
rection of the boulevard. 

At the corner of the Rue du Harlay there is a cordon 
of National Guards. One of them, who wears the blue 
ribbon of July, stops me suddenly. " You cannot pass ! " 
And then his voice suddenly became milder : " Really, I 
do not advise you to go that way, sir." I raise my eyes ; 
it is my floor-polisher. 

I proceed farther. 

I arrive in the Rue Saint-Claude. I have only gone 
forward a few steps when I see all the foot-passengers 
hurrying. A company of infantry has just appeared at 
the end of the street, near the church. Two old women, 
one of whom carries a mattress, utter exclamations of 
terror. I continue to make my way towards the soldiers, 
who bar the end of the street. Some young scamps in 
blouses are bolting in every direction near me. Suddenly 
the soldiers bring down their muskets and present them. 
I have only just time to jump behind a street-post, which 
protects, at all events, my legs. I am fired upon. No 
one falls in the streets. I make towards the soldiers, 
waving my hat, that they may not fire again. As I come 
close up to them they open their ranks for me, I pass, 
and not a word is exchanged between us. 

The Rue Saint-Louis is deserted. It has the appear- 
ance which it presents at four o'clock in the morning in 
summer : shops shut, windows shut, no one about, broad 
daylight In the Rue du Roi-Dord the neighbours chat 
at their doorways. Two horses, unharnessed from some 


cart, of which a barricade has been made, pass up the 
Rue Saint-Jean-Saint-FranQois, followed by a bewildered 
carter. A large body of National Guards and troops of the 
Line appear to be in ambush at the end of the Rue Saint- 
Anastase. I make inquiries. About half an hour ago 
seven or eight young workmen came there, dragging mus- 
kets, which they hardly knew how to load. They were 
youths of fourteen or fifteen years of age. They silently 
prepared their arms in the midst of the people of the 
neighbourhood and the passers-by, who looked on as they 
did so, then they broke into a house where there were 
only an old woman and a little child. There they sus- 
tained a siege of a few moments. The firing in my direc- 
tion was aimed at some of them who were running away 
up the Rue Saint-Claude. 

All the shops are closed, except the wine-shop where 
the insurgents drank, and where the National Guard are 

Three o'clock. I have just explored the boulevards. 
They are covered with people and soldiers. Platoon-firing 
is heard in the Rue Saint-Martin. Before the windows 
of Fieschi I saw a lieutenant-general, in full uniform, 
pass by, surrounded by officers and followed by a squad- 
ron of very fine dragoons, sabre in hand. There is a sort 
of camp at the Chateau d'Eau ; the actresses of the Am- 
bigu are on the balcony of their greenroom, looking on. 
No theatre on the boulevards will give a performance 
this evening. 

All signs of disorder have disappeared in the Rue Saint- 
Louis. The rioting is concentrated in the great central 
markets, A National Guard said to me just now, " There 
are in the barricades over there more than four thousand 
of them." I said nothing in reply to the worthy fellow. 
In moments like this all eyes are overflowing vessels. 


In a house in course of erection in the Hue der; Cou- 
tures-Saint-Gervais the builder's men have resumed work. 
A man has just been killed in the Rue de la Perle. In 
the Rue des Trois-Pavillons I see some little girls play- 
ing at battledore and shuttlecock. In the Rue de 
1'Echarpe there is a laundryman in a fright, who says 
he has seen cannon go by. He counted eight 

Eight P.M. The Marais remains tolerably quiet I 
am informed that there are cannon in the Place de la 
Bastille. I proceed there, but cannot make out anything ; 
the twilight is too deep. Several regiments stand in si- 
lent readiness, infantry and cavalry. A crowd assembles 
at the sight of the wagons from which supplies are dis- 
tributed to the men. The soldiers make ready to 
bivouac. The unloading of the wood for the night-fires 
is heard. 

Midnight. Complete battalions go the rounds upon 
the boulevards. The bivouacs are lighted up in all direc- 
tions, and throw reflections as of a conflagration on the 
fronts of the houses. A man dressed as a woman has 
just passed rapidly by me, with a white hat and a very 
thick black veil, which completely hides his face. As 
the church clocks were striking twelve, I distinctly heard, 
ainid the silence of the city, two very long and sustained 
reports of platoon-firing. 

I listen as a long file of carts, making a heavy iron 
clatter, pass in the direction of the Rue du Temple. Are 
these cannon ? 

Nine A.M. I return home. I notice from a distance 
that the great bivouac fire lighted at the corner of the Rue 
Saint-Louis and the Rue de 1'Echarpe has disappeared. As 
I approach I see a man stooping before the fountain and 


holding something under the water of the spout I look. 
The man looks uneasy. I see that he is extinguishing at 
the fountain some half-burned logs of wood; then he 
loads them upon his shoulders and makes off. They are 
the last brands which the soldiers have left on the pave- 
ment on quitting their bivouacs. In fact, there is noth- 
ing left now but a few heaps of red ashes. The soldiers 
have returned to their barracks. The riot is at an end. 
It will at least have served to give warmth to a poor 
wretch in winter-time. 



December 15. 

I HAVE heard the drums beat to arms in the streets 
since half-past six o'clock in the morning. I go 
out at eleven. The streets are deserted, the shops shut; 
no passer-by is to be seen, save, perhaps, an old woman 
here and there. It is evident that all Paris has poured 
forth towards one side of the city like fluid in a slanting 
vessel It is very cold ; a bright sun, slight mists over- 
head. The gutters are frozen. As I reach the Louis- 
Philippe bridge a cloud descends, and a few snow-flakes, 
driven by the northerly wind, lash me in the face. Pass- 
ing near Notre-Dame I notice that the great bell does 
not ring. 

In the Rue Saint-Andr-des-Aits the fevered commo- 
tion of the fete begins to manifest itself. Ay, it is &fete, 
the/ete of an exiled coffin returning in triumph. Three 
men of the lower classes, of those poor workmen in rags 
who are cold and hungry the whole winter-time, walk in 
front of me rejoicing. One of them jumps about, dances, 
and goes through a thousand absurd antics, crying, " Vive 
1'Empereur ! " Pretty grwettes, smartly dressed, pass by, 
led by their student companions. Hired carriages are 
making rapidly in the direction of the Invalided. In the 
Rue du Four the snow thickens. The sky becomes black. 
The snow-flakes are interspersed with white tear-drops. 


Heaven itself seems to wish to hang out signs of 

The storm, however, lasts but a short time. A pale 
streak of light illumines the angle of the Rue de Grenelle 
and the Rue du Bac, and there the Municipal Guards stop 
the vehicles. I pass by. Two great empty wagons con- 
ducted by artillerymen come from behind me, and return 
to their quarters at the end of the Eue de Grenelle just 
as I come out on the Place des Invalides. Here I fear at 
first that all is over, and that the Emperor has passed by, 
so many are the passers-by coming towards me who ap- 
pear to be returning. It is only the crowd flowing back, 
driven by a cordon of Municipal Guards on foot. I show 
my ticket for the first platform on the left, and pass the 

These platforms are immense wooden structures, cov- 
ering, from the quay to the dome-shaped building, all the 
grass-plots of the Esplanade. There are three of these 
on each side. 

At the moment of my arrival the side of the platforms 
on the right as yet hides the square from my view. I 
hear a formidable and dismal noise. It seems like innu- 
merable hammers beating time upon the boarding. It is 
the hundred thousand spectators crowded upon the plat- 
forms, who, being frozen by the northerly wind, are 
stamping to keep themselves warm until such time as 
the procession shall arrive. I climb up on the platform. 
The spectacle is no less strange. The women, nearly all 
of them wearing heavy boots, and veiled like the female 
ballad-singers of the Pont-Neuf, are hidden beneath great 
heaps of furs and cloaks ; the men display neckerchiefs 
of extraordinary size. 

The decoration of the square, good and bad. Shabbi- 
ness surmounting magnificence. On the two sides of the 
avenue two rows of figures, heroic, colossal, pale in this 


cold sunlight, producing rather a fine impression. They 
appear to be of white marble ; but this marble is of plas- 
ter. At the extremity opposite the building, the statue 
of the Emperor in bronze ; this bronze is also of plaster. 
In each gap between the statues a pillar of painted cloth, 
and gilded in rather bad taste, surmounted by a brazier, 
just now filled with snow. Behind the statues the plat- 
forms and the crowd ; between the statues a straggling 
file of the National Guard ; above the platforms masts, 
on top of which grandly fluttered sixty long tricoloured 

It appears that there has been no time to finish the 
decoration of the principal entrance to the building. 
Above the railings has been roughly constructed a sort 
of funeral triumphal arch of painted cloth and crape, 
with which the wind plays as with old linen clothes 
hung out from the garret of a hovel. A row of poles, 
plain and bare, rise above the cannon, and from a dis- 
tance look like those small sticks which little children 
plant in the sand. Clothes and rags, which are supposed 
to be black drapery with silver spangles, flutter and flap 
together feebly between these poles. At the end the 
Dome, with its flag and mourning drapery, sparkling 
with a metallic lustre, subdued by the mist in a brilliant 
sky, has a sombre and splendid appearance. 

It is midday. 

The cannon at the building is fired at quarter-hour in- 
tervals. The crowd stamp their* feet. Gendarmes dis- 
guised in plain clothes, but betraying themselves by 
their spurs and the stocks of their uniforms, walk hither 
and thither. In front of me a ray of light shows up 
vividly a rather poor statue of Joan of Arc, who holds in 
her hand a palm-branch, which she appears to use as a 
shade, as though the sun affected her eyes. 

At a few steps from the statue a fire, at which a num- 


ber of men of the National Guard warm their feet, is 
alight in a heap of sand. 

From time to time military bandsmen invade an or- 
chestra, raised between the two platforms on the opposite 
side, perform a funeral flourish, then come down again 
hastily and disappear in the crowd, only to reappear the 
moment after. They leave the music for the wine-shop. 

A hawker passes along the platform selling dirges at a 
half-penny each, and accounts of the ceremony. I buy 
two of these documents. 

All eyes are fixed upon the corner of the Quai d'Orsay, 
whence the procession is to come out The cold adds to 
the feeling of impatience. Black and white lines of vapour 
ascend here and there through the thick mist of the 
Champs-Elystes, and detonations are heard in the dis- 

Of a sudden the National Guards hasten to arms. An 
orderly officer crosses the avenue at a gallop. A line is 
formed. Workmen place ladders against the pillars and 
begin to light the braziers. A salvo of heavy artillery 
explodes loudly at the east corner of the Invalides ; a 
dense yellow smoke, mingled with golden flashes, fills this 
whole corner. From the position in which I am placed 
the firing of the guns can be seen. They are two fine old 
engraved cannon of the seventeenth century, which one 
hears from the noise are of bronze. The procession 

It is half-past twelve. 

At the f ai>end of the esplanade, near the river, a double 
row of mounted grenadiers, with yellow shoulder-belts, 
solemnly debouch. This is the Gendarmerie of the Seine. 
It is the head of the procession. At this moment the sun 
does its duty, and appears in its glory* It is the month 
of Austerlitz. 

After the bear-skins of the Gendarmerie of the Seine, 



the brass helmets of the Paris Municipal Guard, then the 
tricoloured pennants of the lancers, fluttering in the air 
in charming fashion. Flourishes of trumpets and beating 
of drums. 

A man in a blue blouse climbs over the outside wood- 
work, at the risk of breaking his neck, on the platform in 
front of me. No one assists him. A spectator in white 
gloves looks at him as he does so, and does not hold out a 
hand to him. The man, however, reaches his destination. 

The procession, including generals and marshals, has 
an admirable effect The sun, striking the cuirasses of 
the carabineers, lights up the breast of each of them with 
a dazzling star. The three military schools pass by with 
erect and solemn bearing, then the artillery and infantry, 
as though going into action. The ammunition wagons 
have the spare wheel at the rear, the soldiers carry their 
knapsacks upon their backs. A short distance off, a great 
statue of Louis XIV., of ample dimensions and tolerably 
good design, gilded by the sun, seems to view with 
amazement all this splendour. 

The mounted National Guard appear. Uproar in the 
crowd. It is sufficiently well disciplined notwithstand- 
ing, but it is an inglorious regiment, and this detracts 
from the effect of a procession of this kind. People laugh. 
I hear this conversation : " Just look at that fat colonel I 
How strangely he holds his sword ! " " Who is that fel- 
low ?" " That is Montalivet" 

Interminable legions of the infantry of the National 
Guard now march past, with arms reversed, like the 
Line regiments, beneath the shadow of this grey sky. A 
mounted National Guard who lets fall his shako, and so 
gallops bareheaded for some time, although successful in 
catching it, causes much amusement to the gallery! that 
is to say, to a hundred thousand people. 

From time to time the procession halts, then continues 


on its way The lighting of the braziers is completed, and 
they smoke between the statues like great bowls of punch. 

Expectation rises higher. Here is the black carriage 
with silver ornamentation of the chaplain of the Belle- 
Poule, in the inside of which is seen a priest in mourn- 
ing ; then the great black velvet coach with mirror panels 
of the St. Helena Commission : four horses to each of these 
two carriages. 

Suddenly the cannon are discharged simultaneously 
from three different points on the horizon. This triple 
sound hems in the ear in a sort of triangle, formidable 
and superb. Drums beat a salute in the distance. The 
funeral carriage of the Emperor appears. The sun, ob- 
scured until this moment, reappears at the same time. 
The effect is prodigious. 

In the distance is seen, in the mist and sunlight, 
against the grey and russet background of the trees in 
the Champs-lSlys&s, beyond the great white phantom- 
like statues, a kind of golden mountain slowly moving. 
All that can be distinguished of it as yet is a sort of lu- 
minous glistening, which makes now stars, now lightning 
sparkle over the whole surface of the car. A mighty 
roar follows this apparition. It would seem as though 
this car draws after it the acclamation of the whole city, 
as a torch draws after it its smoke. 

As it turns in the avenue of the esplanade it remains 
for a few moments at a stand-still, through some contin- 
gency, before a statue which stands at the corner of the 
avenue and of the quay. I have since ascertained that 
this statue was that of Marshal Ney. 

At the moment when the funeral car appeared it was 
half-past one. * 

The procession resumes its progress. The car advances 
slowly. The shape begins to display itself. 

Here are the saddle-horses of the marshals and gener- 


als who hold the cords of the Imperial pall. Here are 
the eighty-six subaltern legionaries bearing the banners of 
the eighty-six departments. Nothing prettier to be con- 
ceived than this square, above which flutters a forest of 
flags. It might be supposed that a gigantic field of dah- 
lias is on the march. 

Here comes a white horse covered from head to foot 
with a violet pall, accompanied by a chamberlain in pale 
blue, embroidered with silver, and led by two footmen, 
dressed in green, with gold lace. It is the Emperor's 
livery. A shudder goes through the crowd. It is Napo- 
leon's charger! The majority firmly believed it. Had 
the horse been ridden only for two years by the Em- 
peror, he would be thirty years old, which is a good age 
for a horse. 

The fact is that this palfrey is a good old supernumerary 
horse, who has filled for some ten years the office of char- 
ger in all the military burials over which the Funeral 
Administration presides. This charger of straw carries 
on his back the genuine saddle of Bonaparte at Marengo ; 
a crimson velvet saddle, with a double row of gold lace, 
tolerably well worn. 

After the horse come, in close and regular formation, 
the five hundred sailors of the Belle-Poule, youthful faces 
for the most part, dressed for action, with round jackets, 
round varnished hats, each with his pistol in his belt, his 
boarding-axe in hand, and at his side a sword, a cutlass 
with a large handle of polished iron. 

The salvoes continue. At this moment the story goes 
the round of the crowd that the first discharge of cannon 
at the Invalides has cut off the legs of a Municipal Guard 
at the thighs. By an oversight the gun had not been 
unloaded. It is added that a man has fallen down in the 
Place Louis XV. under the wheels of the cars, and has 
been crushed to death. 


The car is now very near. It is almost immediately 
preceded by the officers of the Belle-Poule, under the 
command of the Prince de Joinville, on horseback. The 
Prince de Joinville's face is covered with a beard (fair), 
which appears to me contrary to the rules of the naval 
forces. He wears for the first time the grand ribbon of 
the Legion of Honour. Hitherto he figured upon the 
roll of the Legion only as a plain knight 

Arriving immediately in front of me, a slightly mo- 
mentary interruption, I know not from what cause, takes 
place; the car halts. It remains stationary for a few 
minutes between the statue of Joan of Arc and the statue 
of Charles V. 

I can survey it at leisure. The effect, as a whole, is 
not wanting in grandeur. It is an enormous mass, gilt 
all over, of which the tiers rise pyramid-like above the 
four great gilt wheels which bear it Under the violet 
pall, studded with bees, which covers it from top to bot- 
tom, some tolerably fine details may be observed ; the 
wild-looking eagles of the base, the fourteen Victories of 
the top-piece bearing upon a golden support the represen- 
tation of a coffin. The real coffin is invisible. It has 
been deposited inside the basement, which detracts from 
the sensational effect That is the grave defect of this 
car. It conceals what one would wish to see, what 
France has demanded, what the people expect, what 
every eye seeks, the coffin of Napoleon. 

Upon the sham sarcophagus have been deposited the 
insignia of the Emperor, the crown, the sword, the scep- 
tre, and the robe. In the gilded orifice which divides the 
Victories on the summit from the eagles at the base can 
be distinctly seen, in spite of the gilding already partly 
chipped off, the joins in the deal planks. Another defect 
This gold is merely imitation. Deal and pasteboard, that 
is the reality. I could have wished for the Emperor's 
funeral car a splendour of a genuine character* 


Nevertheless, the greater part of this sculptural compo- 
sition has some boldness and artistic merit, although the 
conception of the design and the ornamentation hesitate 
between the Renaissance and the Rococo. 

Two immense bundles of flags, conquered from all the 
nations of Europe, rise in glorious splendour from the 
front and rear of the car. 

The car, with all its load, weighs twenty-six thousand 
pounds. The coffin alone weighs five thousand pounds. 

Nothing more surprising and more superb could be im- 
agined than the set of sixteen horses which draw the car. 
They are terrific creatures, adorned with white plumes 
flowing down to the haunches, and covered from head to 
foot with a splendid caparison of gold cloth, leaving only 
their eyes visible, which gives them an indescribable air 
of phantom steeds. 

Valets in the Imperial livery lead this imposing cav- 

On the other hand, the worthy and venerable generals 
who hold the cords of the pall have an appearance as 
far removed from the fantastic as could well be con- 
ceived. At the head two marshals, the Duke of 
Beggio, 1 diminutive and blind in one eye, to the right ; to 

1 The Dnke of Beggio is not really blind in one eye. A few yean 
ago, as the result of a cold, the marshal had an attack of local paralysis 
which affected the right cheek and pupil Since that time he cannot open 
the one eye. However, throughout this ceremony he displayed wonderful 
courage. Covered with wounds, and seventy-five years of age, he remained 
in the open air, in a temperature of fourteen degrees, from eight o'clock 
in the morning until two o'clock in the afternoon, in fall uniform, and 
without a cloak, out of respect for his general. Be made the journey 
from Conrbevoie to the Invalides on foot, on Ait three broken Ug, as the 
Duchess of Beggio wittily said to me. The marshal, in fact, having suf- 
fered two fractures of the right leg and one of the left, has really had 
three legs broken. 

After aft, it is remarkable that, out of so many veterans exposed for so 
great a length of time to this severe cold, BO mishap should have hap- 
pened to any one of then. Strange to say, this funeral did not bury 

7 be Funeral of Napoleon. 
Photo-Etching. From Drawing by H. Lix. 


the left Count Molitor; in the rear, on the right, an ad- 
miral, Baron Duperre, a stout and jovial sailor ; on the 
left a lieutenant-general, Count Bertrand, old, ex- 
hausted, broken-down, a noble and illustrious figure. 
All four wear the red ribbon. 

The car, let it be said, by-the-way, was not intended to 
be drawn by more than eight horses. Eight horses is a 
symbolical number which has a significance in the cere- 
monial. Seven horses, nine horses, are a wagoner's team ; 
sixteen horses are for a stone-mason's dray; eight horses 
are for an Emperor. 1 

The spectators upon the platforms have continued 
without intermission to stamp with the soles of their 
boots, except at the moment when the catafalque passed 
before them. Then only are the feet silent. One can 
tell that a great thought flashes through the crowd. 

The car has resumed its progress, the drums beat a 
salute, the firing of the cannon is more rapid. Napoleon 
is at the gates of the Invalides. It is ten minutes to two. 

Behind the bier come in civilian dress all the survivors 
of the Emperor's household, then all the survivors of the 
soldiers of the Guard, clad in their glorious uniforms, 
already unfamiliar to us. 

* 29*A of December, 1 840. It has since been ascertained that the magni- 
ficent saddle-cloths of gold brocade which caparisoned the sixteen horws 
were of spun glass. An unworthy saving. An unseemly deception. This 
singular announcement now appears in the newspapers : 

" A large number of persons who came to the span-glass ware-house 
at No. 97 Hue de Charonne, to see the mantle which adorned the 
sides of the funeral car of Napoleon, wished to keep a souvenir of the 
great ceremony by buying a few eagles from this mantle. The manager 
of the establishment, who, iu obedience to the command of the Govern- 
ment, was obliged to refuse them, is now in a position to accede to their 

So we have a bronze statue in plaster, solid gold Victories in pasteboard, 
an imperial mantle in spun glass, and a fortnight after the ceremony 
aglet lot sale. 


The remainder of the procession, made up of regiments 
of the regular army and the National Guard, occupies, it 
is said, the Quai d'Orsay, the Louis XVI. bridge, the Place 
de la Concorde, and the Avenue des Champs-lSlysdes as 
far as the Arc de 1'lStoile. 

The c$r does not enter the courtyard of the Invalides ; 
the railings planted by Louis XIV. are too low. It turns 
off to the right ; sailors are seen to enter into the base- 
ment and issue forth again with the coffin, then disappear 
beneath the porch erected at the entrance to the enclo- 
sure. They are in the courtyard. 

All is over for the spectators outside. They descend 
very noisily and hurriedly from the platforms. Knots of 
people stop at short distances apart before some posters 
stuck to the boards, and running thus : " Leroy, refresh- 
ment contractor, Rue de la Serpe, near the Invalides. 
Choice wines and hot pastry." 

I can now examine the decoration of the avenue. Nearly 
all these statues in plaster are bad. Some are ridiculous. 
The Louis XIV., which at a distance had solidity, is gro- 
tesque at near sight Macdonald is a good likeness. 
Mortier the same. Ney would be so if he had not had 
so high a forehead given to him. In fact, the sculptor 
has made it exaggerated and ridiculous in the attempt to 
be melancholy. The head is too large. In reference to 
this, it is said that in the hurry of improvising the statues 
the measurements have been given incorrectly. On the 
day when they had to be delivered, the statuary sent in a 
Marshal Ney a foot too tall. What did the people of the 
Beaux-Arts department do ? They sawed out of the statue 
a slice of the stomach twelve inches wide, and stuck the 
two pieces together again as well as they were able. 

The bronze-coloured plaster of the statue of the Em- 
peror is stained and covered with spots, which make the 
imperial robe look like a patchwork of old green baize. 


This reminds me, for the generation of ideas is a strange 
mystery, that this summer, at the residence of M. Thiers, 
I heard Marchand, the Emperor's valet-de-chambre, say 
how Napoleon loved old coats and old hats. I under- 
stand and share this taste. For a brain which works, the 
pressure of a new hat is insupportable. 

The Emperor, said Marchand, took away with him when 
he quitted France, three coats, two surtouts, and two hats ; 
he got through his six years at St. Helena with this ward- 
robe ; he did not wear any uniform. 

Marchand added other curious details. The Emperor, at 
the Tuileries, often appeared to rapidly change his attire. 
In reality, this was not so. The Emperor usually wore 
civilian dress, that is to say, breeches of white kersey- 
mere, white silk stockings, shoes with buckles. But 
there was always in the next apartment a pair of riding- 
boots, lined with white silk up to the knees. When any- 
thing happened which made it necessary for the Emperor 
to mount on horseback, he took off his slippers, put on his 
boots, got into his uniform, and was transformed into a 
soldier. Then he returned home, took off his boots, put 
on his slippers again, and became once more a civilian. 
The white breeches, the stockings, and the shoes were 
never worn more than one day. On the morrow these 
Imperial cast-off clothes belonged to the valet-de-chambre. 

It is three o'clock. A salvo of artillery announces 
that the ceremony at the Invalides is at an end. I meet 

B . He has just come out The sight of the coffin 

has produced an ineffable impression. 

The words which were spoken were simple and grand. 
The Prince de Joinville said to the king, " Sire, I present 
to you the body of the Emperor Napoleon." The king 
replied, " I receive it in the name of France." Then he 
said to Bertrand, "General* place upon the coffin the 


glorious sword of the Emperor." And to Gourgaud, 
" General, place upon the coffin the hat of the Emperor." 

Mozart's "Requiem" had but little effect. Beautiful 
music already faded with age. Music too, alas, becomes 
faded with age ! 

l*he catafalque was only finished one hour before the 

arrival of the coffin. B was in the church at eight 

o'clock in the morning. It was as yet only half draped, 
and ladders, tools, and workmen encumbered it. The 
crowd were coming in during this time. Large gilt 
palms of five or six feet in height were tried on the four 
corners of the catafalque ; but after being put in position 
they were seen to produce but a poor effect. They were 
removed. 1 

The Prince de Joinville, who had not seen his family 
for six months, went up and kissed the hand of the 
queen, and heartily shook hands with his brothers and 
sisters. The queen received him in stately fashion, with- 
out demonstration, as a queen rather than as a mother. 

During this time the archbishops, curds, and priests 
sang the "Requiescat in pace" around the coffin of 

The procession was fine, but too exclusively military, 
sufficing for Bonaparte, not for Napoleon. All the bodies 
in the State should have figured in it, at least by deputy. 
The fact is, the thoughtlessness of the Government has 
been extreme. It was in haste to be done with the affair. 
Philippe de S^gur, who followed the car as a former aide- 

1 23d of December. Since the transfer of the coffin, the chnrch of the 
Inraltdes is open to the crowd who visit it. There pass through it daily a 
hundred thousand persons, from ten o'clock in the morning until four 
o'clock in the evening. The lighting of the chapel costs the State three 
hundred and fifty francs a day. M. Dnchatel, Minister of the Interior 
(who, it may be stated, by-the-way, is said to he a son of the Emperor) 
groans aloud at this expense. 


de-camp of the Emperor, told me how at Courbevoie, on 
the banks of the river, in an atmosphere of fourteen <!e- 
grees, this morning, there was not even a waiting-rooV 
with a tire in it These two hundred veterans of the 
Emperor's household had to wait for an hour and a half 
in a kind of Greek temple, exposed to the wind from all 
quarters of the compass. 

The same neglect was shown with respect to the steam- 
boats which took the body from Havre to Paris, a journey 
remarkable, nevertheless, for the earnest and solemn de- 
meanour of the riverside populations. None of these boats 
was suitably fitted up. Victuals were wanting. No beds. 
Orders given that no one should land* The Prince de 
Joinville was obliged to sleep, one of a party of twenty, 
in a common room upon a table Others slept under- 
neath. Some slept on the ground, and the more for- 
tunate upon benches or chairs. It seemed as though 
those in authority were in ill-humor. The prince com- 
plained openly of it, and said, "In this affair all that 
emanates from the people is great, all that emanates 
from the Government is paltry." 

Wishing to reach the Champs-filys^es, I crossed the 
suspension-bridge, where I paid my half-penny, a real 
act of generosity, for the mob which crowds the bridge 
neglects to pay. 

The legions and regiments are in battle-array in the 
Avenue de Neuilly. The avenue is decorated, or rather 
dishonoured, along its entire length by fearful statues in 
plaster representing figures of Fame, and triumphal col- 
umns crowned with golden eagles and placed in a blank 
space upon grey marble pedestals. The street-boys amuse 
themselves by making holes in this marble, which is 
made of cloth. 

Upon each column are seen, between two bundles of 


tri-coloured flags, the name and the date of one of the 
victories of Bonaparte. 

An inferior, theatrical-looking group occupies the top of 
the Arc de Triomphe, the Emperor erect upon a car, sur- 
rounded by figures of Fame, having on his right Glory, 
and on his left Grandeur. What is the meaning of a 
statue of grandeur ? How can grandeur be expressed by 
means of a statue ? Is it in making it larger than the 
others ? This is monumental nonsense. 

This scenic effect, poorly gilt, is turned towards Paris. 
By going to the other side of the Arc one can see the back 
of it. It is a regular theatrical set-piece. On the side 
looking towards Neuilly, the Emperor, the Glories, and 
the Fames become simply pieces of framework clumsily 

With regard to this matter, the figures in the Avenue 
des Invalides have been strangely chosen, be it said by- 
the-way. The published list gives bold and singular con- 
junctions of names. Here is one : " Lobau, Charlemagne, 
Hugues Capet" 

A few months ago I was taking a walk in these same 
Champs-llyses with Thiers, then Prime Minister. He 
would, without doubt, have managed the ceremony with 
greater success. He would have put his heart into it. 
He had ideas. He loves and appreciates Napoleon. He 
told me some anecdotes of the Emperor. M. de IWmusat 
allowed him to see the unpublished memoirs of his mother. 
There are in them a hundred details. The Emperor was 
good-natured, and loved to tease people. To tease is the 
malice of good men. Caroline, his sister, wanted to be a 
queen. He made her a queen, Queen of Naples. But 
the poor woman had many troubles from the moment she 
had a throne, and became, as she sat on it, somewhat care- 
worn and faded. One day Talma was breakfasting with 


Napoleon, etiquette permitted Talma to come only to 
breakfast Hereupon Queen Caroline, just arrived from 
Naples, pale and fatigued, calls upon the Emperor. He 
looks at her, then turns towards Talma, much embarrassed 
between these two majesties. "My dear Talma," he said, 
" they all want to be queens ; they lose their beauty in 
consequence. Look at Caroline. She is a queen ; she is 

As I pass, the demolition is just being finished of the 
innumerable stands draped with black, and ornamented 
with rout seats, which have been erected by speculators 
at the entrance to the Avenue de Neuilly. Upon one of 
them, facing the Beaujon garden, I read this inscription : 
"Seats to let. Austerlitz grand stand. Apply to M. 
Berthellemot, confectioner." 

On the other side of the Avenue, upon a showman's 
booth adorned with frightful pictorial signs representing, 
one of them the death of the Emperor, the other the en- 
counter atMazagran, I read another inscription: "Napo- 
leon in his coffin. Three half-pence." 

Men of the lower classes pass by and sing, " Long live 
my great Napoleon ! Long live old Napoleon ! " Hawkers 
make their way through the crowd, shouting tobacco and 
cigars ! Others offer to the passers-by some kind of hot 
and steaming liquor out of a copper tea-urn covered with 
a black cloth. An old woman at a stall coolly puts on an 
undergarment in the midst of the hurly-burly. Towards 
five o'clock the funeral car, now empty, returns by way of 
the Avenue des Champs-filys^es, to be put up under the Arc 
de Triomphe. This is a capital idea. But the magnificent 
spectre-horses are tired. They walk with difficulty, and 
slowly, notwithstanding all the efforts of the drivers. 
Nothing stranger can be imagined than the shouts of 
hu-ho and dia-hu lavished upon this imperial, but at the 
same time, fantastic team. 


I return home by the boulevards. The crowd there is 
immense ; suddenly it falls back and looks round with a 
certain air of respect. A man passes proudly by in its 
midst He is an old hussar of the Imperial Guard, a 
veteran of great height and lusty appearance. He is in 
full uniform, with tight-fitting red trousers, a white 
waistcoat with gold braid, a sky-blue pelisse, a busby 
with a grenade and plaited loop, his sword at his side, 
his sabretache beating upon his thighs, an eagle upon 
his satchel. All round him the little children cry, " Vive 
1'Empereur ! " 

It is certain that all this ceremony has been curiously 
like a juggle. The -Government appeared to fear the 
phantom which it had raised. It seemed as though the 
object was both to show and to hide Napoleon. Every- 
thing which would have been too grand or too touching 
was left out of sight. The real and the grandiose were 
concealed beneath more or less splendid coverings, the 
Imperial procession was juggled into the military pro- 
cession, the army was juggled into the National Guard, 
the Chambers were juggled into the Invalides, the coffin 
was juggled into the cenotaph. 

What was wanted, on the contrary, was that Napoleon 
should be taken up frankly, honoured, treated royally 
and popularly as Emperor, and then strength would have 
been found just where a failure almost took place. 

To-day, the 8th of May, I returned to the Invalides to 
see the St. J4rtane chapel, where the Emperor is tempo- 
rarily placed. All traces of the ceremony of the 15th of 
December have disappeared from the esplanade. The 
quincunxes have been cut out afresh ; the grass, however, 
has not yet grown again. There was some sunshine, 
accompanied now and then by clouds and rain. The 
trees were green and lusty. The poor old pensioners 
were talking quietly to a group of youngsters, and walk- 


ing in their little gardens full of bouquets. It is that 
delightful period of the year when the late lilacs have 
shed their petals, when the early laburnums are in bloom. 
The great shadows of the clouds pass rapidly across the 
forecourt, where stands under an archivault on the first 
floor a plaster equestrian statue of Napoleon, a rather 
pitiful counterpart to the equestrian Louis XIV., boldly 
chiselled in stone over the great portal. 

All round the court, below the eaves of the building, 
are still stuck up, as the last vestiges of the funeral, the 
long narrow strips of black cloth upon which had been 
painted in golden letters, three by three, the names of 
the generals of the Kevolution and the Empire. The 
wind begins, however, to tear them down here and there. 
On one of these strips, of which the torn end floated in 
mid-air, I read these three names, 


The end of the third name had been torn and carried 
off by the wind. Was it Hugo or Huguet ? 

Some young soldiers were entering the church. I 
followed these tourlourous, as the phrase goes nowadays. 
For in time of war the soldier calls the citizen a pkin ; 
in time of peace the citizen calls the soldier a tourlourou. 

The church was bare and cold, almost deserted. At 
the end a large grey cloth covering, stretched from top to 
bottom, hid the enormous archivault of the dome. Be* 
hind this covering could be heard the muffled and almost 
funereal sound of hammers. 

I walked about for an instant or two, reading upon the 
pillars the names of all the warriors buried there. 

All along the nave above our heads the flags conquered 
from the enemy, that accumulation of splendid tatters, 
were gently wafted near the roof. In the intervals be- 
tween the blows of the hammers I heard a muttering in 


a comer of the church. It was an old woman at con- 

The soldiers went out, and myself behind them. They 
turned to the right along the Metz corridor, and we 
mixed with a tolerably large and very well-dressed crowd 
going in that direction. The corridor leads to the inner 
court in which the minor entrance to the dome is situated. 

There I found three more statues, of lead, taken I 
know not where from, which I remember to have seen 
on this same spot as a little child in 1815, at the time of 
the mutilation of buildings, dynasties, and nations, which 
took place at that period. These three statues, in the 
worst style of the Empire, cold as allegory, gloomy as 
mediocrity, stand alongside the wall there, on the grass, 
amid a mass of architectural capitals, with an indescrib- 
able suggestion of tragedies which have been damned. 
One of them leads a lion by a chain, and represents 
Might. Nothing can appear so much out of place as a 
statue standing upon the ground without a pedestal ; it 
looks like a horse without a rider, or a king without a 
throne. There are but two alternatives for the soldier, 
battle or death ; there are but two for the king, empire 
or the tomb ; there are but two for the statue, to stand 
erect against the sky or to lie flat upon the ground. A 
statue on foot puzzles the mind and bothers the eye. 
One forgets that it is of plaster or bronze, and that bronze 
does not walk any more than plaster; and one is tempted 
to say to this poor creature with a human face so awk- 
ward and wretched-looking in its ostentatious attitude : 
"Now then, go on, be off with you, march, keep going, 
move yourself ! The ground is beneath your feet What 
stops you ? Who hinders you ? " The pedestal, at least, 
explains the want of motion. For statues as for men a 
pedestal is a small space, narrow and respectable, with 
four precipices around it 


After having passed by the statues, I turned to the 
right and entered the church by the great door at the 
rear, facing the boulevard Several young women pass 
through the doorway at the same time as myself, laugh- 
ing and calling to each other. The sentry allowed us to 
pass. He was a bent and melancholy-looking old soldier, 
sword in hand, perhaps an old grenadier of the Imperial 
Guard, silent and motionless in the shadow, and resting 
the end of his worn wooden leg upon a marble fleur-de- 
lis, half chipped out of the stone. 

To get to the chapel where Napoleon is, one has to 
walk over a pavement tesselated with fleurs-de-lis. The 
crowd, women and soldiers, were in haste. I entered the 
church with slow steps. 

A light from above, wan and pale, the light of a work- 
shop rather than of a church, illuminated the interior of 
the dome. Immediately under the cupola, at the spot 
where the altar was and the tomb will be, stood, covered 
on the side of the aisle by the mass of black drapery, the 
immense scaffolding used in pulling down the baldachin 
erected under Louis XIV. No trace of this baldachin 
remained save the shafts of six great wooden columns 
supporting the head. These columns, destitute of capital 
or abacus, were still supported vertically by six shaped 
logs which had been put in place of the pedestals. The 
gold foliage, the spirals of which gave them a certain ap- 
pearance of twisted columns, had already disappeared, 
leaving a black mark upon the six gilt shafts. The 
workmen perched up here and there inside the scaffold- 
ing looked like great birds in an enormous cage. 

Others, below,, were tearing up the stone floor. Others 
again passed up and down the church, carrying their 
ladders, whistling and chatting. 

On my right, the chapel of Saint- Augustin was full of 

VOL. XXI Y. 8 


dtbris. Huge blocks, broken and in heaps, of that splen- 
did mosaic work in which Louis XIV. had set his fleurs- 
de-lis and sunflowers concealed the feet of Saint Monica 
and Saint Alipa, looking wonder-stricken and shocked in 
their niches. The statue of Religion, by Girardon, erect 
between the two windows, looked gravely down upon 
this confusion. 

Beyond the chapel of Saint* Augustin some large mar- 
ble slabs which had formed the covering of the dome, 
placed vertically against each other, half hid a white, 
war-like, recumbent figure of a warrior beneath a rather 
high pyramid of black marble fixed in the wall Under- 
neath this figure, in a gap between the flagstones, could 
be read the three letters 


It was the tomb of 

On the opposite side of the church, in front of the 
tomb of Vauban, was the tomb of Turenne. The latter 
had been treated with greater respect than the other. 
No accumulation of ruins rested against that great sculp- 
tural design, more pompous than funereal, made for the 
stage rather than the church, in harmony with the frigid 
and exalted etiquette which ruled the art of Louis XIV. 
No palisade, no mound of rubbish prevented the passer- 
by from seeing Turenne, attired as a Roman Emperor, 
dying of an Austrian bullet above the bronze bass-relief 
of the battle of Turckheim, or from deciphering this 
memorable date, 1675, the year in which Turenne died, 
the Duke de Saint-Simon was born, and Louis XIV. laid 
the foundation-stone of the Hotel des Invalides. 

On the right, against the scaffolding of the dome and 
the tomb of Turenne, between the silence of this sepul- 
chre and the noise of the workmen, in a little barricaded 
and deserted chapel, I could discern behind a railing, 


through the opening of a white arch, a group of gilt 
statues, placed there pell-mell, and doubtless torn from 
the baldachin, conversing apparently in whispers on the 
subject of all this devastation. There were six of them, 
six winged and luminous angels, six golden phantoms, 
gloomily illuminated by a pale stream of sunlight. One 
of these statues indicated to the others with uplifted 
finger the chapel of Saint-Jdr6me, gloomy, and in mourn- 
ing drapery, and seemed to utter with consternation the 
word Napoleon. Above these six spectres, upon the 
cornice of the little roof of the chapel, a great angel in 
gilt wood was playing upon a violoncello, with eyes up- 
turned to heaven, almost in the attitude which Veronese 
ascribes to Tintoretto in the Marriage at Cana. 

By this time I had arrived at the threshold of the 
chapel of Saint-J&dme. 

A great archivault, with a lofty door-curtain of rather 
paltry violet cloth, stamped with a fretwork pattern, and 
with golden palm-leaves ; at the top of the door-curtain 
the Imperial escutcheon in painted wood ; on the left two 
bundles of tricoloured flags, surmounted with eagles look- 
ing like cocks touched up for the occasion ; pensioners, 
wearing the Legion of Honour, carrying pikes ; the crowd, 
silent and reverential, entering under the arch-way ; at 
the extremity, eight or ten paces distant, an iron gate- 
way, bronzed ; upon the gate-way, which is of a heavy 
and feeble style of ornamentation, lions' heads, gilt IPs 
with a tinsel-like appearance, the arms of the Empire, the 
main-de-justice 1 and sceptre, the latter surmounted by a 
seated miniature of Charlemagne, crowned, and globe in 
hand ; beyond the gate-way the interior of the chapel, a 
something indescribably august, formidable, and striking ; 

1 The moiii-cfo^tciftce was the sceptre, surmounted by a hand, which WM 
uied at the coronation of the kings of France. T*. 


a swinging lamp alight, a golden eagle with wide-spread 
wings, the stomach glistening in the gloomy reflection of 
the lamplight, and the wings in the reflection of the sun- 
light; under the eagle, beneath a vast and dazzling 
bundle of enemies* flags, the coffin, the ebony supports 
and brass handles of which were visible ; upon the coffin 
the great imperial crown, like that of Charlemagne, the 
gold laurel diadem, like that of Caesar, the violet velvet 
pall studded with bees; in front of the coffin, upon a 
credence-table, the hat of St. Helena and the sword of 
Eylau ; upon the wall, to the right of the coffin, in the 
centre of a silver shield, the word Wagram ; on the left, 
in the centre of another shield, another word, Auster- 
litz; all round upon the wall a hanging of violet velvet, 
embroidered with bees and eagles; at the top, on the 
spandrel of the nave, above the lamp, the eagle, the 
crown, the sword, and the coffin, a fresco, and in this 
fresco the angel of judgment sounding the trumpet over 
Saint-Jerome asleep, that is what I saw at a glance, 
and that is what a minute sufficed to engrave upon my 
memory for life. 

The hat, low-crowned, wide-brimmed, but little worn, 
trimmed with a black ribbon, out of which appeared a 
small tricoloured cockade, was placed upon the sword, of 
which the chased gold hilt was turned towards the en- 
trance to the chapel and the point towards the coffin. 

There was some admixture of meanness amid all this 
grandeur. It was mean on account of the violet cloth, 
which was stamped and not embroidered ; of the paste- 
board painted to look like stone; of the hollow iron 
made to look like bronze ; of that wooden escutcheon ; of 
those JV's in tinsel; of that canvas Koman column, 
painted to look like granite ; of those eagles almost like 
cocks. The grandeur was in the spot, in the man, in the 
reality, in the sword, in the hat, in that eagle, in those 


soldiers, in that assemblage of people, in that ebony 
coffin, in that ray of sunlight. 

The people were there as before an altar in which the 
Supreme Being should be visible. But in leaving the 
chapel, after having gone a hundred steps, they entered 
to see the kitchen and the great saucepan. Such is the 
nature of the people. 

It was with profound emotion that I contemplated 
that coffin. I remembered that, less than a twelvemonth 

previously, in the month of July, a M presented 

himself at my house, and after having told me that he 
was in business as a cabinet-maker in the Rue des 
Tourelles, and a neighbour of mine, begged me to give 
him my advice respecting an important and precious 
article which he was commissioned to make just then. 
As I am greatly interested in the improvement of that 
small internal architecture which is called furniture, I 
responded favourably to the request, and accompanied 

M to the Rue des Tourelles. There, after having 

made me pass through several large, well-filled rooms, 
and shown me an immense quantity of oak and mahog- 
any furniture, Gothic chairs, writing-tables with carved 
rails, tables with twisted legs, among which I admired a 
genuine old sideboard of the Renaissance, inlaid with 
mother-of-pearl and marble, very dilapidated and very 
charming, the cabinet-maker showed me into a great 
workshop full of activity, bustle, and noise, where some 
twenty workmen were at work upon some kind or other 
of pieces of black wood which they had in their hands. 
I saw in a corner of the workshop a kind of large black 
ebony box, about eight feet long and three feet wide, 
ornamented at each end with big brass rings. I went 
towards it "That is precisely," said the employer, 
"what I wanted to show to you." This black box was 


the coffin of the Emperor. I saw it then, I saw it again 
to-day. I saw it empty, hollow, wide open. I saw it 
once more full, tenanted by a great souvenir, forever 

I remember that 1 contemplated the inside for a long 
time. I looked especially at a long pale streak in the 
ebony which formed the left-hand side, and I said to 
myself, "In a few months the lid will be closed upon 
this coffin, and my eyes will perhaps have been closed 
for three or four thousand years before it will be given 
to any other human eyes to see what I see at this mo- 
ment, the inside of the coffin of Napoleon." 

I then took all the pieces of the coffin which were not 
yet fastened. I raised them and weighed them in my 
hands. The ebony was very fine and very heavy. The 
head of the establishment, in order to give me an idea of 
the general effect, had the lid put on the coffin by six 
men. I did not like the commonplace shape given to 
the coffin, a shape given nowadays to all coffins, to all 
altars, and to all wedding caskets. I should have pre- 
ferred that Napoleon should have slept in an Egyptian 
tomb like Sesostris, or in a Roman sarcophagus like 
Merov^e. That which is simple is also imposing. 

Upon the lid shone in tolerably large characters the 
name Napoleon. "What metal are these letters made 
of ? " I asked the man. He replied, " In copper, but they 
will be gilded." " These letters," I rejoined, " must be in 
gold. In less than a hundred years copper letters will 
have become oxydized, and will have eaten into the 
wood-work of the coffin. How much would gold letters 
cost the State ? " " About twenty thousand francs, sir." 
The same evening I called on M. Thiers, who was then 
President of the Council, and I explained the matter to 
him. w You are right," said M. Thiers, " the letters shall 
be of gold; I will go and give the necessary order for 


them." Three days afterwards the treaty of the 15th of 
July burst upon us ; I do not know whether M. Thiers 
gave the order, whether it was executed, or whether the 
letters on the coffin are gold letters. 

I left the chapel of Saint-J6r6me as four o'clock was 
striking, and I said to myself as I left, " To all appear- 
ance, here is a tinsel N which smashes, eclipses, and 
supersedes the marble Z's, with their crowns and fleurs- 
de-lis, of Louis XIV. ; but in reality it is not so. If this 
dome is narrow, history is wide. A day will come when 
Louis XIV. will have his dome restored to him, and a 
sepulchre will be given to Napoleon. The great King 
and the great Emperor will each be at home, in peace the 
one with the other, both venerated, both illustrious, 
the one because he personifies royalty in the eyes of 
Europe, the other because he represents France in the 
eyes of the world." 

To-day, the llth of March, 1841, three months after- 
wards, I saw once more the Esplanade of the Invalides. 

I went to see an old officer who was ill. The weather 
was the finest imaginable; the sun was warm and young; 
it was a day for the end rather than the beginning of 

The whole esplanade is in confusion. It is encumbered 
with the ruins of the funeral The scaffolding of the 
platforms has been removed. The squares of grass which 
they covered have reappeared, hideously cut up by the 
deep ruts of the builder's wagons. Of the statues which 
lined the triumphal avenue, two only remain standing, 
Marceau and Duguesclin. Here and there heaps of 
stone, the remains of the pedestals. Soldiers, pensioners, 
apple-women, wander about amid this fallen poetry. 

A merry crowd was passing rapidly in front of the In- 


valides, going to see the artesian well. In a silent corner 
of the esplanade stood two omnibuses, painted a choco- 
late colour (Btarnaises), bearing this inscription in large 


Three months ago they bore this one : 


In the courtyard of the building the sun cheered and 
warmed a crowd of youngsters and old men, the most 
charming sight imaginable. It was public visiting-day. 
The curious presented themselves in great numbers. 
Gardeners were clipping the hedges. The lilacs were 
bursting into bud in the little gardens of the pensioners. 
A little boy of fourteen years of age was singing at the 
top of his voice while sitting up on the carriage of the 
last cannon on the right, the same one which killed a 
gendarme in firing the first funeral salvo on the 15th of 

I may mention, by the way, that during the last three 
months these excellent sixteenth arid seventeenth century 
pieces have been perched upon hideous little cast-iron 
carriages, producing a most mean and wretched effect. 
The old wooden carriages, enormous, squat, massive, 
worthily supported these gigantic and magnificent bronzes. 
A bevy of children, languidly looked after by their 
nurses, each of whom was leaning against her soldier, 
were playing among the twenty-four great culverins 
brought from Cons tan tine and Algiers. 

These gigantic engines, at least, have been spared the 
affront of uniform carriages. They lie flat on the ground 
on the two sides of the gate-way. Time has painted the 
bronze a light and pretty green colour, and they are 


covered with arabesques on large plates. Some of them, 
the least handsome, it must be admitted, are of French 
manufacture. Upon the breech is the inscription : 
" Francois Durand, metal-founder to the King of France, 

While I copied the inscription, a tiny little girl, pretty 
and fresh-coloured, dressed all in white, amused herself 
by filling with sand, with her ruddy little fingers, the 
touchhole of one of these great Turkish cannon. A pen- 
sioner, with bare sword, standing upon two wooden legs, 
and no doubt guarding this artillery, looked at her as she 
did so, and smiled. 

Just as I was leaving the esplanade, towards three 
o'clock, a little group walked slowly across it. It was 
composed of a man dressed in black, with a band of crape 
on his arm and hat, followed by three others, of whom 
one, clad in a blue blouse, held a little boy by the hand. 
The man with the crape had under his arm a kind of box 
of a lightish colour, half hidden under a black cloth, 
which he carried as a musician carries the case in which 
his instrument is kept. I approached them. The black 
man was an undertaker's mute; the box was a child's 

The course taken by the little procession, parallel with 
the front of the Invalides, intersected at a right angle 
that which, three months ago, had been followed by the 
hearse of Napoleon. 


VH. was elected to the Acactemie one Tuesday. 
Two days afterwards Madame de Girardin, who 
lived at that time in the Eue Latfitte, invited him to 

At this dinner was Bugeaud, as yet only a general, who 
had just been appointed governor-general of Algeria, and 
who was just going out to his post. 

Bugeaud was then a man of sixty-five years of age, vigor- 
ous, with a very fresh complexion, and pitted with small- 
pox. He had a certain abruptness of manner which was 
never rudeness. He was a mixture of rustic and man 
of the world, old-fashioned and easy-mannered, having 
nothing of the heaviness of the old martinet, witty and 

Madame de Girardin placed the general on her right 
and V. H. on her left A conversation sprang up be- 
tween the poet and the soldier, Madame de Girardin 
acting as interpreter. 

The general was in very bad humour with Algeria. 
He maintained that this conquest precluded France from 
speaking firmly to Europe ; that nothing was easier to 
conquer than Algeria, that the forces could easily be 
blockaded there, that they would be taken like rats, and 
that they would make but one mouthful ; moreover, that 
it was very difficult to colonize Algeria, and that the soil 
was unproductive; he had examined the land himself, 


and he found that there was a distance of a foot and a 
half between each stalk of wheat. 

"So then," said V. H., "that is what has become of 
what was formerly called the granary of the Eomans! 
But even supposing it were as you say, I think our new 
conquest is a fortunate and grand affair. It is civiliza- 
tion trampling upon barbarism. It is an enlightened 
people which goes out to a people in darkness. We are 
the Greeks of the world; it is for us to illumine the 
world. Our mission is being accomplished, I only sing 
Hosanna ! You differ from me, it is clear. You speak 
as a soldier, as a man of action. I speak as a philosopher 
and a thinker." l 

V. H. left Madame de Girardin rather early. It was 
on the 9th of January. It was snowing in large flakes. 
He had on thin shoes, and when he was in the street he 
saw that it was impossible to return home on foot. He 
went along the Eue Taitbout, knowing that there was a 
cab-rank on the boulevard at the corner of that street 
There was no cab there. He waited for one to come. 

He was thus waiting, like an orderly on duty, when he 
saw a young man, well and stylishly dressed, stoop and 
pick up a great handful of snow, and put it down the 
back of a woman of the streets who stood at the corner 
of the boulevard in a low-necked dress. The woman 

1 In 1846 five years afterwards the opinion of Marshal Bugeand 
had completely changed. He came to see Victor Hugo, then a Peer of 
France, to beg him to speak on the subject of the Budget Bugeaud said, 
experience had convinced him that the annexation of Algeria to France 
had excellent points ; that he had discovered a suitable system of coloniza- 
tion ; that he would people the Mitidja a great table-land in the interior 
of Africa with civilian colonists ; that, side by side, he would establish 
a colony of soldiers. He took a lance as a comparison : the handle would 
be the civilians, the spear the troops ; so that the two colonies would join 
without being intermingled, etc., etc. To sum up, General Bugeaud, 
whom Africa had made a marshal and Duke d'Isly, had become very 
favourable to Africa. 


uttered a piercing shriek, fell upon the dandy, and struck 
him. The young man returned the blow, the woman 
responded, and the battle went on in a crescendo, so vig- 
orously and to such extremities that the police hastened 
to the spot. 

They seized hold of the woman and did not touch the 

Seeing the police laying hands upon her, the unfortu- 
nate woman struggled with them. But when she was 
securely seized she manifested the deepest grief. While 
two policemen were pushing her along, each holding one 
of her arms, she shouted, " I have done no harm, I assure 
you ! It is the gentleman who interfered with me. I am 
not guilty ; I implore you leave me alone ! I have done 
no harm, really, really ! " 

" Come, move on ; you will have six months for this 

The poor woman at these words, " You will have six 
months for this business," once more began to defend her 
conduct, and redoubled her supplications and entreaties. 
The policemen, not much moved by her tears, dragged 
her to a police-station in the Hue Chauchat, at the back 
of the Op^ra. 

V. H., interested in spite of himself in the unhappy 
woman, followed them, amid that crowd of people which 
is never wanting on such an occasion. 

Arriving near the station, V. H. conceived the idea of 
going in and taking up the cause of the woman. But he 
said to himself that he was well known, that just then the 
newspapers had been full of his name for two days past, 
and that to mix himself up in such an affair was to lay 
himself open to all kinds of disagreeable banter. In 
short, he did not go in. 

The office into which the girl had been taken was on 
the ground-floor, overlooking the street. He looked 


through the windows at what was going on. He saw 
the poor woman lie down upon the floor in despair and 
tear her hair ; he was moved to pity, he began to reflect, 
and the result of his reflections was that he decided to 
go in. 

When he set foot in the office a man who was seated 
before a table, lighted by a candle, writing, turned round 
and said to him in a sharp, peremptory tone of voice, 
"What do you want, sir?" "Sir, I was a witness of 
what took place just now ; I come to make a deposition 
as to what I saw, and to speak to you in this woman's 
favour." At these words the woman looked at V. H. in 
mute astonishment, and as though dazed. " Your depo- 
sition, more or less interested, will be unavailing. This 
woman has been guilty of an assault in a public thorough- 
fare. She struck a gentleman. She will get six months 9 
imprisonment for it" 

The woman once more began to cry, scream, and roll 
over and over. Other women, who had come and joined 
her said to her, " We will come and see you. Never 
mind. We will bring you some linen things. Take that 
for the present." And at the same time they gave her 
money and sweetmeats. 

" When you know who I am," said V. H., "you will, 
perhaps, change your manner and tone, and will listen to 

"Who are you, then?" 

V. H. saw no reason for not giving his name. 

He gave his name. The Commissary of Police, for he 
was a Commissary of Police, was prolific of excuses, and 
became as polite and deferential as he had before been 
arrogant ; offered him a chair, and begged him to be good 
enough to be seated. 

V, H. told him that he had seen with his own eyes ft 


gentleman pick up a snowball and throw it down the 
back of the woman ; that the latter, who could not even 
see the gentleman, had uttered a cry indicating sharp 
pain ; that indeed she had attacked the gentleman, but 
that she was within her right ; that apart from the rude- 
ness of the act, the violent and sudden cold occasioned 
by the snow might, in certain circumstances, do the wo- 
man the most serious injury ; that so far from taking 
away from this woman, who had possibly a mother or a 
child to support, the bread so miserably earned, it should 
rather be the man guilty of this assault upon her whom 
he should condemn to pay a fine ; in fact, that it was not 
the woman who should have been arrested, but the man. 

During this defence, the woman, more and more sur- 
prised, beamed with joy and emotion. " How good the 
gentleman is ! " she said, " how good he is ! I never knew 
so good a gentleman. But then I never saw him. I do 
not know him at all/' 

The Commissary of Police said to V. H. : "I believe 
all that you allege, but the policemen have reported the 
case, and there is a charge made out. Your deposition 
will be entered in the charge-sheet, you may be sure. 
But justice must take its course, and I cannot set the 
woman at liberty." 

" What ! After what I have just told you, and what 
is the truth truth which you cannot and do not doubt 
you are going to detain this woman ? Then this jus- 
tice is a horrible injustice I " 

11 There is only one condition on which I could end the 
matter, and that is that you would sign your deposition. 
Will you do so ?" 

" If the liberty of this woman depends on my signa- 
ture, here it is." 

V. H. signed 


The woman continually repeated, " How good the gen- 
tleman is ! How good he is ! " 

These unhappy women are astonished and grateful not 
only when they are treated with sympathy, they are none 
the less so when they are treated with justice. 


April 14. 

IN the Boulevard du Temple just now the house of 
Fieschi is being pulled down. The rafters of the 
roof are destitute of tiles. The windows, without glass 
or frames, lay bare the interior of the rooms. Inside, 
through the windows at the corner of the yard, can be 
seen the staircase which Fieschi, Pepin, and Morey went 
up and down so many times with their hideous project 
in their heads. The yard is crowded with ladders and 
carpenter's work, and the ground-floor is surrounded by 
a timber hoarding. 

What can be seen of Fieschi's room appears to have 
been embellished and decorated by the different lodgers 
who have inhabited it since. The walls and ceiling are cov- 
ered with a paper sprinkled with a small pattern of green- 
ish hue ; and upon the ceiling an ornamental beading, also 
papered, makes the outline of a Y. This ceiling is, how- 
ever, already broken in and much cracked by the builder's 

Upon the subject of the Fieschi trial I have from the 
chancellor himself, M. Pasquier, several details which 
are not known. 

As long as Fieschi, after his arrest, thought that his 
accomplices were in sympathy with him he remained 
silent. One day he learned through his mistress, Nmi 
Lassave, the one-eyed woman, that Morey said, " What a 
pity the explosion did not kill him!" From that mo- 
ment Fieschi was possessed with hatred ; he denounced 


Pepin and Morey, and was as assiduous in ruining them 
as he had previously been anxious to save them. Morey 
and Pepin were arrested. Fieschi became the energetic 
supporter of the prosecution. He entered into the most 
minute details, revealed everything, threw light on, 
traced, explained, unveiled, unmasked everything, and 
failed in nothing, never telling any falsehood, and caring 
little about putting his head under the knife provided 
the two other heads fell. 

One day he said to M. Pasquier, " Pepin is such a fool 
that he entered in his account-book the money he gave 
me for the machine, setting down what it was to be used 
for. Make a search at the house. Take his account- 
book for the six first months of 1835. You will find at 
the head of a page an entry of this kind made with his 
own hand." His instructions are followed, the search is 
ordered, the book is found. M. Pasquier examines the 
book, the procurator-general examines the book ; nothing 
is discovered. This seems strange. For the first time 
Fieschi was at fault. He is told of it: "Look again." 
Useless researches, trouble wasted. The commissioners 
of the court are reinforced by an old examining magis- 
trate whom this affair makes a councillor at the Eoyal 
Court in Paris (M. Gaschon, whom the Chancellor Pas- 
quier, in telling me all this, called Gftcon or Cachon). 
This judge, an expert, takes the book, opens it, and in 
two minutes finds at the top of a page, as stated, the 
memorandum which formed the subject of Fieschi's 
accusation. Pepin had been content to strike it through 
carelessly, but it remained perfectly legible. The presi- 
dent of the Court of Peers and the procurator-general, 
from a certain habit readily understood, had not read the 
passages which were struck through, and this memoran- 
dum had escaped them. 

The thing being discovered, Fieschi is brought forward, 
TOI* xxi Y. 4 


and Pepin is brought forward, and they are confronted 
with each other before the book. Consternation of Pepin, 
joy of Fieschi. Pepin falters, grows confused, weeps, talks 
of his wife and his three children ; Fieschi triumphs. The 
examination was decisive, and Pepin was lost. The sit- 
ting had been long ; M. Pasquier dismisses Pepin, takes 
out his watch, and says to Fieschi, " Five o'clock ! Come, 
that will do for to-day. It is time for you to go to dinner." 
Fieschi leaped up : " Dinner ! Oh, I have dined to-day. 
I have cut off Pepin's head ! " 

Fieschi was correct in the smallest particulars. He 
said one day that at the moment of his arrest he had a 
dagger upon him. No mention was to be found of this 
dagger in any of the depositions. " Fieschi," said M. 
Pasquier, " what is the use of telling lies ? You had no 
dagger." " Ah, president," said Fieschi, " when I arrived 
at the station-house I took advantage of the moment 
when the policemen had their backs turned to throw the 
dagger under the camp-bed on which I had to sleep. It 
must be there still. Have a search made. Those gen- 
darmes are a filthy lot. They do not sweep underneath 
their beds." A visit was made to the station-house, the 
camp-bed was removed, and the dagger was found. 

I was at the Peers' Court the day before his condemna- 
tion. Morey was pale and motionless. Pepin pretended 
to be reading a newspaper. Fieschi gesticulated while 
talking loudly and laughing. At one moment he rose 
and said, " My lords, in a few days my head will be sev- 
ered from my body; I shall be dead, and I shall rot in 
the earth. I have committed a crime, and I render a ser- 
vice. As for my crime, I am going to expiate it ; as for 
my service, you will gather the fruits of it After me no 
more riots, no more assassinations, no more disturbances. 
I shall have sought to kill the king ; I shall have suc- 
ceeded in saving him." These words, the gesture, the tone 

The Attempt of Fiescbi on the Life of Louis Philippe. 
Photo-Etching. From Drawing by F. Lix. 


of voice, the hour, the spot, struck me. The man appeared 
to me courageous and resolute. I said so to M. Pasquier, 
who answered me : " He did not think he was to die/' 

He was a bravo, a mercenary, nothing else. He had 
served in the ranks, and he mixed up his crime with some 
sort of military ideas. " Your conduct is very dreadful," 
M. Pasquier said to him ; " to blow up perfect strangers, 
people who have done you no harm whatever, passers- 
by." Fieschi coldly replied, " It is what is done by 
soldiers in an ambush." 


^ESTERDAY, July 13, the Duke of Orleans died of 

I an accident. 

On this subject, when one reflects upon the history of 
the last hundred and fifty years, an idea crosses the mind. 
Louis XIV. reigned, his son did not reign ; Louis XV. 
reigned, his son did not reign ; Louis XVI. reigned, 
his son did not reign ; Napoleon reigned, his son did 
not reign ; Charles X. reigned, his son did not reign ; 
Louis-Philippe reigns, his son will not reign. Extraor- 
dinary fact ! Six times in succession human foresight 
designates from amid a whole people the head which is 
to reign, and it is precisely that one which does not reign. 
The fact is repeated with dreadful and mysterious persis- 
tency. A revolution comes about, a universal upheaval 
of ideas which ingulfs in a few years a past of six centu- 
ries, and the whole social life of a great nation. This 
formidable commotion overturns everything excepting 
the fact to which we have referred ; this, on the contrary, 
it causes to spring up amid all that it demolishes, a 
great empire is established, a Charlemagne appears, a new 


world arises, the fact continues to repeat itself ; it appears 
to be of the new world as well as of the old world. The 
empire falls, the old blood returns; Charlemagne has 
vanished, exile takes the conqueror, and returns those 
who were proscribed ; revolutions gather again and burst, 
dynasties change three times, event follows event, the 
tide ebbs and flows ; still the fact remains, perfect, unin- 
terrupted, without modification, without break. Since 
monarchies have existed, law says, " The eldest son of 
the king always reigns ; " and now for a hundred and 
forty years the event has answered, " The eldest son of 
the king never reigns." Does it not seem as though it is 
a law which is revealing itself, and revealing itself in the 
inexplicable order of human occurrences, with a degree of 
persistency and exactitude which up to the present had 
belonged only to material facts ? Would it not be start- 
ling if certain laws of history were to be made manifest to 
men with the same preciseness, the same inflexibility, 
and, so to speak, the same harshness, as the great laws of 
Nature ? 

For the Duke of Orleans, when dying, a few mattresses 
were hurriedly thrown upon the ground, and the head of 
the bed was made of an old arm-chair turned upside down. 

A battered stove was at the back of the prince's head. 
Pots and pans and coarse earthenware vessels ornamented 
a few boards along the wall A large pair of shears, a 
fowling-piece, one or two-penny coloured pictures fastened, 
with four nails, represented Mazagran, the Wandering 
Jew, and the Attempt of Fieschi. A portrait of Napoleon 
and a portrait of the Duke of Orleans (Louis-Philippe) as 
a colonel-in-chief of hussars, completed the decoration of 
the wall. The flooring was a square of plain red bricks. 
Two old wardrobes propped up the prince's death-bed on 
the left-hand side. 


The queen's chaplain, who assisted the vicar of Neuilly 
at the moment of the Extreme Unction, is a natural son 

of Napoleon, the Abbd , who much resembles the 

Emperor, minus the air of genius. 

Marshal Gerard was present at the death, in uniform ; 
Marshal Soult, in a black coat, with his face like that of 
an old bishop ; M. Guizot, in a black coat ; the king, in 
black trousers and a brown coat. The queen had on a 
violet silk gown trimmed with black lace. 

July 20. 

God has vouchsafed two gifts to man, hope and 
ignorance. Ignorance is the better of the two. 

Every time the Duke of Orleans, the Prince Royal, went 
to Villiers to his summer palace, he passed by a rather 
squalid-looking house, with only two stories, and a single 
window to each of its two stories, and with a wretched 
shop, painted green, upon the level of the street This 
shop, without any window on the road-way, had only one 
door, through which could be seen in the shadow a 
counter, a pair of scales, a few common wares displayed 
upon the floor, above which was painted in dirty yellow 
letters this inscription: "GROCERY STORES." It is not 
quite certain that the Duke of Orleans, young, light- 
hearted, merry, happy, ever noticed this doorway ; or if 
he occasionally cast an eye upon it in passing quickly 
along the road on pleasure intent, he probably looked 
upon it as the door of some wretched shop, some rookery, 
some hovel It was the doorway of his tomb. 

To-day, Wednesday, I visited the spot where the prince 
fell, now exactly a week ago. It is at that part of the 
road-way which is comprised between the twenty-sixth 
and twenty-seventh tree on the left, counting the trees 


from the intersection of the road in the open circus at 
the Porte Maillot. The road-way from side to side is 
twenty-one paving-stones wide. The prince smashed his 
forehead upon the third and fourth paving-stones on the 
left, near the edge. Had he been thrown eighteen inches 
farther, he would have fallen on the bare earth. 

The king has had the two blood-stained paving-stones 
removed, and to-day could still be distinguished, in spite 
of the mud of a rainy day, the two new stones just put in. 

Upon the wall opposite, between the two trees, a cross 
has been cut in the plaster by passers-by, with the date, 
July 13, 1842. At the side is written the word "Martir" 

From the spot where the prince fell can be seen, on 
the right, through a vista formed by the houses and trees, 
the Arc de I'fitoile. On the same side, and within pistol- 
shot, rises a great white wall surrounded by sheds and 
rubbish, bordered by a moat and surmounted by a con- 
fused mass of cranes, windlasses, and scaffoldings. These 
are the fortifications of Paris. 

While I examined the two paving-stones and the cross 
traced upon the wall, a gang of school-boys, all in straw 
hats, suddenly surrounded me, and these young fresh- 
looking and merry faces grouped themselves with heed- 
less curiosity around the fatal spot A few steps farther 
on a young nurse kissed and caressed a little baby, at the 
same time shouting with laughter. 

The house in which the prince expired is No. 4, and is 
situated between a soap manufactory and a low eating- 
house and wine-shop keeper's. The shop on the ground- 
floor is shut Against the wall, on the right-hand side of 
the door, was placed a rough wooden seat, upon which 
two or three old women were basking in the sun. Over 
their heads was stuck up, upon the green ground of the 
coloured wall, a large bill, bearing these words, "Esprit 


Putot Mineral Water." A pair of white calico curtains 
at the window of the first floor seem to indicate that 
the house is still occupied. A number of men, sitting at 
tables and drinking at the neighbouring wine-shop, 
talked and laughed noisily. Two doors farther on, upon 
the house No. 6, nearly opposite the spot where the 
prince was killed, is painted up this sign in black letters, 
" Chanudet, stone-mason." 

Singular fact : the prince fell to the left, and the post- 
mortem examination showed that the body was contused 
and the skull smashed on the right-hand side. 

M. Villemain (it was he himself who told me this the 
day before yesterday) arrived at the prince's side hardly 
half an hour after the accident. All the royal family 
were already there. 

On seeing M. Villemain enter, the king hastened 
towards him and said, " It is a terrible fall ; he is still 
unconscious, but there is no fracture, the limbs are all 
supple and uninjured." The king was right ; the whole 
body of the prince was healthy and intact save the head, 
which, without outward tear or cut, was broken under 
the skin like ft plate, Villemain told me. 

In spite of what has been said on the subject, the 
prince neither wept nor spoke. The skull being shat- 
tered and the brain torn, this would have been impossible. 
There was but a particle of organic life. The dying man 
did not see, feel, or suffer. M. Villemain only saw him 
move his legs twice. 

The left-hand side of the road is occupied by gardens 
and summer-houses; on the right-hand side there is 
nothing but hovels. 

On the 13th of July, when the prince quitted the 
Tuileries for the last time, he passed, first of all, that 
human monument which awakens most powerfully the 


idea of endurance, the obelisk of Barneses ; but he might 
have called to mind that on this same spot had been 
raised the scaffold of Louis XVI. He next passed the 
monument which awakens in most splendid fashion the 
idea of glory, the Arc de Triomphe de T^toile ; but he 
might have called to mind that under the same arch 
had passed the coffin of Napoleon. Five hundred steps 
farther on he passed a road which owes its ominous name 
to the insurrection of the 6th of October, fomented by 
Philippe-%alit against Louis XVI. This road is called 
the Koute de la Mvolte. Just as they entered it, the 
horses which conveyed the grandson of Egalit4 ran away, 
revolted, so to speak, and two-thirds of the distance down 
this fatal road the prince fell. 

The Duke of Orleans was named Ferdinand after his 
grandfather of Naples, Philip after his father and grand- 
father of France, Louis after Louis XVI., Charles after 
Charles X., and Henry after Henry V. In his burial cer- 
tificate was omitted (was it by design ?) his Sicilian name 
of Bosolino. I confess I regretted the omission of this 
pleasing name, which recalled Palermo and Sainte-Eosalie. 
Some sort of ridicule was feared. Eosolino sounds charm- 
ing to poets and whimsical to commonplace people. 

As I came back, towards six o'clock in the evening, I 
noticed a bill printed in large letters, stuck here and 
there upon the walls, with the words, " F&te at Neuilly, 
July 3d." 

A DREAM. 57 


November 14. 

HEEE is a dream which I dreamt this night I write 
it solely on account of the date. 

I was at home, but in a home which is not my own, 
and which I do not know. There were several large 
reception-rooms, very handsome, and brilliantly lighted. 
It was evening a summer evening. I was in one of 
these rooms, near a table, with some friends, who were 
my friends in the dream, but not one of whom do I know. 
A lively conversation was going on, accompanied by shouts 
of laughter. The windows were all wide open. Suddenly 
I hear a noise behind me. I turn round, and I see com- 
ing towards me, amid a group of persons whom I do not 
know, the Duke of Orleans. 

I went up to the prince with an expression of delight, 
but otherwise without surprise. The prince appeared 
very lively and in good-humour. I do not remember 
what clothes he wore. 

I held out my hand to him, thanking him for coming 
thus cordially to my house without sending up his name. 
I remember very distinctly having said to him, " Thank 
you, prince." He answered me with a shake of the 

At that moment I turned my head and saw three or 
four men placing upon the mantelpiece a bust of the 
Duke of Orleans in white marble. I then perceived that 
there was already on the same mantelpiece another bust 
of the prince in bronze. The men placed the marble bust 
in the place of the bronze bust and silently withdrew. 
The prince led me towards one of the -windows, which, as I 
have said, were open. It seems to me that in doing so we 
went out of one room into another. My mind is not clear 


as to this. The prince and I sat down near the window, 
which looked out upon a splendid prospect. It was the 
interior of a city. In my dream I perfectly recognized 
this city, but in reality it was a place I had never seen. 

Underneath the window stretched for a long distance 
between two dark blocks of buildings a broad stream, 
made resplendent in parts by the light of the inoon. At 
the far end, in the mist, towered the two pointed and 
enormous steeples of a strange sort of cathedral ; on the 
left, very near to the window, the eye looked in vain 
down a little dark alley. I do not remember that there 
were in this city any lights in the windows or inhabitants 
in the streets. 

This place was known to me, I repeat, and I was 
speaking of it to the prince as of a city which I had 
visited, and which I congratulated him in having come 
to see in his turn. 

The sky was of a tender blue and a lovely softness. 
In one place some trees, barely visible, were wafted in 
a genial wind. The stream rippled gently. The whole 
scene had an indescribable air of calm. It seemed as 
though in this spot one could penetrate into the very 
soul of things. I called the attention of the prince to 
the fineness of the night, and I distinctly remember that 
I said these words to him : " You are a prince ; you will 
be taught to admire human politics ; learn also to admire 

As I was speaking to the Duke of Orleans I felt that my 
nose began to bleed ; I turned, and I recognized among 
some persons who were conversing at a little distance 
behind us in low tones M. M&esville and M. Blanqui. 
The blood which I felt streaming down my mouth and 
cheeks was very dark and thick. The prince looked at 
it as it streamed, and continued to speak to me without 
betraying any surprise. I tried to stop this bleeding with 

A DREAM, 59 

my handkerchief, but without success. At length I 
turned to M. Blanqui and said, "You are a doctor; 
stop this bleeding, and tell me what it means." M. 
Blanqui, who was a doctor only in my dream, and who 
iu reality is a political economist, did not answer me. 
I continued to converse with the prince, and the blood 
continued to flow. - 

I do not quite know how it was that I ceased to take 
any notice of the blood which deluged my face. At this 
point there is a brief interval of mist and confusion, in 
which I no longer distinguish, except very imperfectly, 
the figures of the dream. What I do know is that sud- 
denly I heard, in the apartment which we had just left, a 
fresh commotion, similar to that which had ushered in the 
arrival of the Duke of Orleans. One of my friends came 
in and said to me, "It is General Lafayette who has 
come to see you." I hastily rose, and re-entered the first 
apartment. General Lafayette was really there; I rec- 
ognized him perfectly, and I looked upon his visit quite 
as a matter of course. He was leaning upon his son 
George, who was broad-faced, ruddy, and jovial-looking, 
and who laid hold of my hands, shaking them very 
heartily. The general was very pale; he was surrounded 
by many unknown persona 

It is impossible for me to recall what I said to the gen- 
eral, and what he said to me in reply. At the end of a 
few moments he said to me, " I am in a hurry ; I must 
go. Give me your arm to the door." Then he leaned 
his left elbow upon my right shoulder, and his right el- 
bow upon the left shoulder of his son George, and we 
made our way at a very slow pace towards the door. 

Just as I arrived at the staircase, and was about to 
descend with the general, I turned and cast a glance 
behind me. My look evidently darted at this instant 
through the thickness of all the walls, for I saw all over 


several large apartments. There was no one in them 
now; there were lights everywhere still, but all was 
deserted. But I saw, alone, and still seated in the 
same place, in the recess of the same window, the Duke 
of Orleans looking sadly at me. At this moment I 

I had this dream on the night of the 13th to the 14th 
of November, 1842, precisely four mouths after the death 
of the Duke of Orleans, who was killed on the 13th of 
July, and on the very night of the day when the period 
of mourning for the death of the prince expired 



June 16. 
"^ESTERDAY, at the Acad^mie, the sitting not yet 

JL having begun, M. Royer-Collard and M. Ballanche 
came and sat beside ine. We entered into conversation. 
It was rather a conversation between two than three. I 
listened more than I spoke. 

"The hot weather has come at last," said M. Royer- 

"Yes," replied M. Ballanche, "but it is too hot. The 
heat is already too much for me." 

" What ! are you not a Southerner, then ? " 

"No. This heat overpowers me. I submit to it. I 
resign myself." 

" We must resign ourselves to the seasons as to men," 
said M. Royer-Collard. 

" Resignation is the basis of everything." 

"If we could not learn resignation," continued M. 
Royer-Collard, " we should die of rage." Then, after a 
moment's silence, and emphasizing his words in the man- 
ner peculiar to him, " I do not say we should die in a 
rage ; I say we should die of rage." 

" As for me, anger is no longer a part of my disposition. 
I have none left." 

"I no longer get angry," rejoined M. Royer-Collard, 
" because I reflect that half an hour afterwards I shall no 
longer be angry." 

"And I," replied M. Ballanche, "no longer get angry, 
because it upsets my mind." 


After a moment's silence he added, with a smile, " The 
last time I was angry was at the period of the Coalition. 
The Coalition,- yes, yes; the Coalition was my last fit 
of anger." 

" Even so early as that ? I no longer got angry," re- 
plied M. Royer-Collard. " I looked on at what was being 
done. I protested a great deal more inside than outside 
myself, as a man protests who does not speak. After 
that time I remained three years longer in the Chamber. 
I regret it. It was three years too long. I remained too 
long in the Chamber ; I should have retired from it sooner. 
Not, however, at the period of the Revolution of July ; 
not at the period of the refusal of the oath of allegiance, 
my motives would have been misunderstood." 

I said, " You are right ; there was in the Revolution of 
July a basis of justice which you cannot ignore ; you were 
not one of those who could protest against it/' 

" Neither did I do so," replied M. Royer-Collard, smil- 
ing. " I do not blauie those who acted otherwise than 
as I did. Every one has his conscience, and iu public 
affairs there are many ways of being honest. Men are 
honest according to their lights." 

He remained silent for a moment, as though scraping 
up his recollections, then he resumed : 

"Well, after all, Charles X., too, was honest." Then 
he relapsed into silence. 

I left him to ponder for a moment, and wishing to know 
his innermost thoughts, I resumed : 

" Whatever may have been said of him, he was, as a 
king, an honest man ; and whatever may have been said 
of him also, he only fell through his own fault. Histo- 
rians may represent the matter as they please, but there 
it is. It was Charles X. who overthrew Charles X." 

"Yes," replied M. Royer-Collard, at the same time 
nodding his head with a grave token of assent, " it is true 


he overthrew himself ; he would have it It is said he 
had bad advisers. It is false, false. No one advised 
him. It has been said that he consulted Cardinal de 
la Farre, M. de Latil, M. de Polignac, his suite. Would 
to Heaven he had done so! None of those who sur- 
rounded him had lost their heads as completely as he 
had ; none of them would have given him such bad advice 
as he gave himself. All those who surrounded the king, 
those who were called the courtiers, were wiser than 

M. Eoyer-Collard remained silent for a moment, then 
continued, with a sad smile, whidh he often assumed dur- 
ing the conversation : 

" Wiser, that is to say, less insane." 

Another pause ; then he added, 

" No, nobody advised him." 

And after another pause : 

" And nothing advised him. He had always, from his 
youth upward, preserved his own identity. He was still 
the Count d' Artois ; he had not changed. Not to change, 
if one should live to be eighty years of age, that was the 
only quality which he valued. He called that having a 
personality. He said that since the Revolution there had 
been in France and in the era only two men, M. de La- 
fayette and himself. He esteemed M. de Lafayette." 

" As a matter of fact," I said, " they were two brains 
fashioned in very much the same way; but they har- 
boured a different idea, that is all." 

" And they were both of them constructed," continued 
M. Royer-Collard, "to pursue their idea to the end. 
Charles X. was destined to do what he did. It was fatal 
1 knew it ; I was acquainted with the king. I saw him 
from time to time. As I was a Royalist, he used to re- 
ceive me with friendliness, and treat me kindly. I read- 
ily foresaw the stroke which he was meditating. M. de 


After & moment's silence he added, with a smite, " The 
last time I was angry was at the period of the Coalition. 
The Coalition, yes, yes; the Coalition was my last fit 
of anger." 

"Even so early as that ? I no longer got angry/ 1 re- 
plied M. Royer-Collard. " I looked on at what was being 
done. I protested a great deal more inside than outside 
myself, as a man protests who does not speak. After 
that time I remained three years longer in the Chamber. 
I regret it It was three years too long. I remained too 
long in the Chamber ; I should have retired from it sooner. 
Not, however, at the period of the Revolution of July ; 
not at the period of the refusal of the oath of allegiance, 
my motives would have been misunderstood/' 

I said, * You are right ; there was in the Revolution of 
July a basis of justice which you cannot ignore ; you were 
not one of those who could protest against it" 

" Neither did I do so/' replied M. Royer-Collard, smil- 
ing. " I do not blame those who acted otherwise than 
as I did. Every one has his conscience, and in public 
affairs there are many ways of being honest. Men are 
honest according to their lights." 

He remained silent for a moment, as though scraping 
up his recollections, then he resumed : 

"Well, after all, Charles X., too, was honest" Then 
he relapsed into silence. 

I left him to ponder for a moment, and wishing to know 
his innermost thoughts, I resumed : 

" Whatever may have been said of him, he was, as a 
king, an honest man ; and whatever may have been said 
of him also, he only fell through his own fault Histo- 
rians may represent the matter as they please, but there 
it is. It was Charles X. who overthrew Charles X." 

"Yes," replied M. Royer-Collard, at the same tame 
nodding his head with a grave token of assent, w it is tew 


he overthrew himself; he would have it It is said he 
had bad advisers. It is false, false. No one advised 
him. It has been said that he consulted Cardinal de 
la Farre, 11 de Latil, 11 de Polignac, his suite. Would 
to Heaven he had done sol None of those who sur- 
rounded him had lost their heads as completely as he 
had ; none of them would have given him such bad advice 
as he gave himself. All those who surrounded the king, 
those who were called the courtiers, were wiser than 

M. Boyer-Collard remained silent for a moment, then 
continued, with a sad smile, whi<!h he often assumed dur- 
ing the conversation : 

" Wiser, that is to say, less insane.** 

Another pause ; then he added, 

* * No, nobody advised him." 
And after another pause : 

" And nothing advised him. He had always, from his 
youth upward, preserved his own identity. He was still 
the Count d' Artois ; he had not changed. Not to change, 
if one should live to be eighty years of age, that was the 
only quality which he valued. He called that having a 
personality. He said that since the Revolution there had 
been in France and in the era only two men, M. de La- 
fayette and himself. He esteemed M. de Lafayette." 

"As a matter of fact," I said, " they were two brains 
fashioned in very much the same way; but they har- 
boured * different idea, that is ail** 

* And they were both of them constructed,** continued 
It Boyer-Collard, "to pursue their idea to the end. 
Charles X. was destined to do what he did. It was fatal 
I knew it ; I was acquainted with the king. I saw him 
from time to time. As I was a Royalist, he used to re- 
ceive me with friendliness, and treat me kindly. I read- 
ily foresaw the stroke which he was meditating. M. <te 


Chftteaubriand, however, did not believe in it. He came 
to see me on his return from his mission as Ambassador 
at Rome, and asked me what I thought of it. I told him 
how it was. Opinions were divided. The best authori- 
ties doubted whether such madness was possible. But 
I myself did not doubt. I may say that on the day when 
I took up to the king the Address of the two hundred 
and twenty-one, it was towards the end of February, 
1830, I read the events of July in his looks." 

"How did he receive you ? " I asked. 

"Very coldly. With solemnity, with gentleness. I 
read the Address to hurt, simply but firmly, without em- 
phasizing any of the passages, but without slurring any 
of them. The king listened to it as he would have done 
to anything else. When I had finished " Here M. 
Royer-Collard stopped short, and then added, with the 
same sad smile, " What I am going to tell you is not very 
king-like. When I had finished speaking, the king 
was seated on what was called the throne, he drew 
forth from under his thigh a paper, which he unfolded 
and read to us. It was his reply to our Address. He 
showed no anger. He showed a good deal two years 
previously, at the period of the other Address, you 
know, M. Ballanche, that which was drawn up by M. 
Delalot. It was the custom to communicate the Address 
to the Chamber on the previous evening, so that the 
king might prepare his reply. When the king received 
the Delalot Address, in the presence of the Ministers, he 
burst into such a fit of rage that his shouts could be 
heard from the Carrousel. He declared point-blank that 
he would not receive the Address, and that he would 
dissolve the Chamber. The king was in a state of fury, 
and this was at its height. The moment was a perilous 
one. M. de Portalis, who was then Keeper of the Seeds, 
risked it You know M. de Portalis, Monsieur Victor 


Hugo ; I do not tell you he is a hero, but see the influ- 
ence of a candid word upon an obstinate disposition. M. 
de Portalis, standing before Charles X., simply said to 
him, 'If such are the intentions of the king for to-morrow, 
the king must give us now his orders for the day after 
to-morrow/ Strange to say, these few words appeased 
the anger of Charles X. : exigui puheris jactu. He turned 
with an air of vexation towards M. de Martignac, and 
said to him, ' Well, Martignac, I will receive them ; but 
sit down at the table, take a pen, and prepare me a plain 
and uncompromising reply, worthy of a king of France.' 
M. de Martignac obeyed. As he wrote, the anger of the 
king further subsided ; and when M. de Martignac had 
finished, and he read to the king the draft of the answer, 
already much softened by the conciliatory disposition of 
Martignac, Charles X. seized the pen to strike out half 
of it, and tone down the remainder. That is how anger 
disappears, even the anger of a king ; even the anger 
of a stubborn man ; even the anger of Charles X." 

At this moment, as the sitting had already begun a 
few minutes ago, the Director of the Acad^mie (M. 
Flourens) rang his bell, and an usher cried, "To your 
seats, gentlemen." 

M. Koyer-Collard rose, and said to me, " But none of 
these details will be gathered up, and they will never 
appear in history." 

"Perhaps," I replied. 

TOIi. XXIT. 6 




KING LOUIS-PHILIPPE said to me the other day, 
" I was never in love but once in my life." 

"And who with, Sire?" 

"With Madame de Genlis." 

" Ah, but she was your tutor." 

The king laughed and replied : 

"As you say. And a strict tutor, I declare to yon. 
She brought up my sister and myself quite ferociously. 
Getting up at six in the morning, summer and winter ; 
fed upon milk, roast meats, and bread ; never any luxu- 
ries, never any sweetmeats ; plenty of work and no play. 
It was she who accustomed me to sleep upon boards. 
She made me learn a great variety of manual work; 
thanks to her I can work a little at every trade, includ- 
ing that of a barber-surgeon. I bleed my man like 
Figaro. I am a cabinet-maker, a groom, a mason, a 
blacksmith. She was systematic and severe. From a 
very little boy I was afraid of her ; I was a weak, lazy, 
and cowardly boy ; I was afraid of mice ! She made me 
a tolerably bold man, with some amount of spirit. As I 
grew up I perceived that she was very pretty. I knew 
not what possessed me when she was present. I was in 
love and did not know it. She, who was an adept in 
the matter, understood, and guessed what it was at once. 
She used me very badly. It was at the time when she 
was intimate with Mirabeau. She constantly said to 


me, ' Come, now, Monsieur de Chartres, you great booby, 
why are you always at my skirts ? ' She was thirty-six 
years of age, I was seventeen." 

The king, who saw that I was interested, continued : 
" Madame de Genlis has been much talked about and 
little known. She has had children ascribed to her of 
whom she was not the mother, Pamela and Casimir. 
This is how it was : she loved anything beautiful or 
pretty ; she liked to have smiling faces around her. Pa- 
mela was an orphan whom she took up on account of 
her beauty ; Casimir was the son of her door-keeper. 
She thought the child charming ; the father used to beat 
the son. ' Give him to me/ she said, one day. The man 
consented, and that is how she got Casimir. In a little 
while Casimir became the master of the house. She was 
old then. Pamela she had in her youth, in our own 
time. Madame de Genlis adored Pamela. When it 
became necessary to go abroad, Madame de Genlis set 
out for London with my sister and a hundred louis in 
money. She took Pamela to London. The ladies were 
wretched, and lived meanly in furnished apartments. 
It was winter-time. Really, Monsieur Hugo, they did 
not dine every day. The tid-bits were for Pamela. My 
poor sister sighed, and was the victim, the Cinderella. 
That is just how it was. My sister and Pamela, in order 
to economize the wretched hundred louis, slept in the same 
room. There were two beds, but only one blanket. My 
sister had it at first, but one evening Madame de Genlis 
said to her, ' You are well and strong ; Pamela is very 
cold, I have put the blanket on her bed/ My sister was 
annoyed, but dared not rebel ; she contented herself with 
shivering every night However, my sister and myself 
loved Madame de Genlis." 

Madame de Genlis died three months after the Revo- 
lution of July. She lived just long enough to see her 


pupil king. Louis-Philippe was really in some degree of 
her making ; she had educated him as though she had 
been a man and not a woman. She positively refused to 
crown her work with the supreme education of love. A 
strange thing this in a woman of so few scruples, that 
she should have first shaped the heart, and that shte 
should have disdained to complete the work. 

When she saw the Duke of Orleans king, she simply 
said, " I am glad of it." Her last years were poor and 
almost wretched. It is true she had no skill in manage- 
ment, and scattered her money broadcast in the gutter. 
The king often went to see her ; he visited her up to the 
last days of her life. His sister, Madame Adelaide, and 
himself never ceased to pay every kind of respect and 
deference to Madame de Genlis. 

Madame de Genlis complained somewhat of what she 
called the stinginess of the king. She said, " He was a 
prince, I made a man of him ; he was clumsy, I made a 
ready man of him ; he was a bore, I made an entertain- 
ing man of him ; he was a coward, I have made a brave 
man of him ; he was stingy, I could not make a generous 
man of him. Liberal if you like ; generous, no." 


M. Guizot goes out every day after breakfast, at mid- 
day, and spends an hour at the residence of the Princess 
de Li3ven, in the Rue Saint-Florentin. In the evening 
he returns, and except on official days he spends his 
whole evenings there. 

M. Guizot is fifty-seven years of age ; the Princess is 
fifty-eight With regard to this, the king said one even- 
ing to M. Duchatel, Minister of the Interior, " Has not 
Guizot a friend to advise him ? Let him beware of those 
North-country women. He does not understand them. 
When a North-country woman is old, and gets hold of a 


man younger than herself, she sucks him dry. Then 
the king bursts out laughing. M. Duch&tel, who is fat 
and stout, who wears whiskers, and who is forty-five 
years of age, turns very red. 


The king, when at home in the evening, does not 
usually wear any decoration. He is attired in a brown 
coat, black trousers, and a waistcoat of black satin or 
white pique. He has a white cravat, silk stockings, with 
open-work in front, and polished shoes. He wears a 
grey toupet, only slightly concealed, and arranged in the 
style of the Restoration. No gloves. He is lively, good- 
natured, affable, and chatty. 

His travels in England delighted him. He spoke to 
me about them for an hour and a half, with much gesti- 
culation, accompanied by many imitations of English 
pronunciation and ways. 

" I was exceedingly well received," he said. " Mobs of 
people, acclamations, salvoes of artillery, banquets, cere- 
monies, fetes, visits from the Corporation, an address 
from the City of London, nothing was wanting. In all 
this, two things especially touched my feelings. Near 
Windsor, at a posting-stage, a man who had run after my 
carriage came and stood close to me at the window, 
shouting, ' Vive le roi! Vive le roi ! Vive le roi /' in 
French. Then he added, also in French, ' Sire, welcome 
to this old English nation ; you are in a country which 
knows how to appreciate you.' That man had never 
seen me before, and will never see me again. He expects 
nothing of me. It seemed to me as though it was the 
voice of the people. This affected me more than any 
other compliment In France, at the next stage beyond 
Eu, a drunken man, seeing me pass, shouted, ' There is 
the king come back ; it is all right now ; the English are 


satisfied, and the French will be at peace.' The content- 
ment and peace of the two peoples, that, indeed, was 
my aim. Yes, I was well received in England. And if 
the Emperor of Russia compared his reception with mine, 
it must have been quite painful to him, he is so vain. 
He went to England before me to prevent me from 
making my journey. It was a foolish proceeding. He 
would have done better to go after me. They would 
then have been obliged to treat him in the same way. 
In London, in particular, he is not liked. I do not know 
whether they would have got the members of the Corpo- 
ration to take the trouble to go and see him. Those 
aldermen are very resolute." 

Louis-Philippe used to make great fun of the elder 
M. Dupin, who, thinking to heighten the refinements of 
Court language, calls Madame Adelaide, the sister of the 
king, Ma belle demoiselle. 



THE king yesterday looked fatigued and careworn. 
When he perceived me, he led me into the apartment 
behind the queen's room, and said to me, as he showed 
me a large-sized tapestry couch, with parrots worked 
upon it in medallions, " Let us sit down on these birds." 
Then he took my hand, and said, in a somewhat bitter 
tone of complaint, " Monsieur Hugo, I am misunderstood. 
I am said to be proud, I am said to be clever ; that 
means that I am a traitor. It grieves me. I am simply 
an honest man. I go the straight road. Those who are 
acquainted with me know that I am not wanting in 


frankness. Thiers, when he was acting with me, told me 
one day that we were disagreed: 'Sire, you are proud, 
but I am prouder than you.' ' The proof that that is not 
so/ I replied, ' is that you tell me so.' M. de Talleyrand 
said to me one day, ' You will never make anything of 
Thiers, who, for all that, would be an excellent instru- 
ment. But he is one of those men who can only be used 
on condition of satisfying their requirements; and he 
will never be satisfied. The misfortune for himself as 
well as for you is that there is no longer any possibility 
of his being a cardinal/ Thiers is clever, but he has too 
much of the conceit of a self-made man. Guizot is better. 
He is a man of weight, a fulcrum ; the species is a rare 
one, and I appreciate it. He is superior even to Casimir 
P^rier, who had a narrow mind. His was the soul of a 
banker, weighted to earth like an iron chest. Ah, how 
rare is a true minister ! They are all like school-boys. 
The attendances at the Council are irksome to them ; the 
most important affairs are disposed of at a gallop. They 
are in a hurry to be off to their departments, their com- 
missions, their offices, their gossipings. Tn the period 
which followed 1830 they had a look of uneasiness and 
humiliation when I presided; moreover, no real appre- 
ciation of power, little grandeur at heart, no sustained 
aim in policy, no persistency of will. They leave the 
Council as a boy leaves his class-room. On the day he 
left the Ministry the Duke of Broglie jumped for joy in 
the Council chamber. Marshal Soult arrives. ' What is 
the matter with you, my dear duke ? ' 'Marshal, we are 
leaving the ministry/ * You entered it like a wise man/ 
said the marshal, who had humour, 'and you leave it 
like a madman.' Count Mote, now, had a way of yielding 
to me and resisting at one and the same time. ' I am of 
the king's opinion as to the general question, but not as 
to the expediency/ Monsieur Hugo, if you only knew 


how things go on sometimes at the Council ! The Bight 
of Search treaty, the famous Eight of Search would 
you believe it? was not even read at the Council? 
Marshal Sebastian!, at that time Minister, said, 'Pray 
read the treaty, gentlemen/ I said, ' My dear Ministers, 
pray read the treaty/ * Oh, we have no time ; we know 
what it is. Let the king sign it/ they said. And I 




DUBING the first days of December, 1845, I called 
on Villemain. I had not seen him since the 3d of 
July, exactly five months previously. Villemain had 
been seized during the last days of December, 1844, with 
the cruel complaint which marked the close of his po- 
litical career. 

It was cold, the weather was melancholy, I was melan- ' 
choly myself ; this was the time to go and console some- 
body. Consequently I went to see Villemain. 

He was then living in the rooms allotted to the life- 
Secretary of the Acad^mie Frantjaise, on the second floor 
of the right-hand staircase, at the far end of the second 
courtyard of the Institute. I ascended this staircase and 
rang at the door on the right; no one came. I rang a 
second time ; the door opened. It was Villemain himself. 
He was pale, dejected, attired in a long black frock-coat, 
buttoned at the top with one solitary button, his grey 
hair unkempt, He looked at me with a melancholy look, 
and said, without a smile, " Ah, it is you ; good-morning." 

Then he added, " I am alone ; I do not know where my 
servants are ; come in." 

He led me through a long corridor into an apartment, 
and thence into his bedroom. The whole abode is de- 
pressing, and seems in some way like the attic of a con- 
vent In the bedroom, lighted by two windows opening 
on the courtyard, the only furniture was a mahogany 
bedstead, without curtains or counterpane, a sheet of 


white paper carelessly throwii upon the bed, one or two 
horsehair chairs, a chest of drawers between the two 
windows, and a writing-table covered with papers, books, 
newspapers, and opened letters. Nearly all these letters 
had printed headings, such as, " House of Peers/ 1 " Insti- 
tute of France," "Council of State," "Journal des Sa- 
vants," etc. Upon the mantelpiece the "Moniteur," of 
the day, a few letters, and a few books, among them the 
"History of the Consulate and the Empire," by M. de 
Lacretelle, which has just appeared. 

Near the bed was a child's cot, with mahogany rails, 
covered with a green counterpane. Upon the wall oppo- 
site the bed hang three frames containing the lithographed 
portrait of Villemain and the portraits of the two eldest 
of his little daughters, painted in oil and tolerably like ; 
upon the mantelpiece a clock, which is out of order, 
and shows the wrong time ; in the fireplace a fire nearly 

Villemain made me sit down, and took hold of my 
hands. He was rather disordered-looking, but gentle arid 
earnest. He asked me what I had been doing this sum- 
mer, and said he had been on a journey ; spoke of one or 
two common friends, some with affection, others with 
distrust. Then his appearance became calmer, and he 
conversed for a quarter of an hour on literary topics, 
adopting a high tone, clear, simple, elegant, thoughtful, 
although still gloomy, and not laughing once. 

Suddenly he looked straight at me and said, " I have a 
painful matter in my mind ; I am in trouble, I have dis- 
tressing anxieties. If you only knew what conspiracies 
there are against me!" 

"Villemain," I said, " be calm." 

"No," he rejoined, "it is really dreadful." After a 
pause he added, as though speaking to himself, " They 
began by separating me from my wife. I loved her, and 


still love her She had some mental failing ; that may 
have engendered delusions. But what is much more 
certain is that they succeeded in arousing in her an anti- 
pathy towards me, and then they separated me from her, 
and afterwards separated my children from me. Those 
poor little girls are charming. You saw them ; they are 
my delight. Well, I do not dare to go and see them; and 
when I see them, I simply assure myself that they are well, 
that they are bright and gay and fresh-looking, and I am 
afraid even to kiss them on the forehead. Great heavens ! 
my very touch would be made an excuse, perhaps, for 
harming them. How do I know what devices they are 
capable of? Therefore, I am separated from my wife, 
separated from my children, and now I am alone." 

After a pause he continued : " No, I am not alone. I 
am not even alone. I have enemies, everywhere, here, 
outside, around ine, in my dwelling. The fact is, my 
friend, that I made a mistake ; I ought not to have en- 
tered upon political affairs. To succeed in them, to be 
firm and strong, I should have had a support ; an internal 
support, happiness; an external support, some one." 
(He referred, doubtless, to the king.) " These supports 
both failed me. I foolishly threw myself amid men's 
hatreds. I was naked and unarmed. They fell violently 
upon me ; at present I have done with everything." 

Then suddenly looking at me with a certain look of 
anguish: "My friend, whatever may be said to you, 
whatever you may be told, whatever may be alleged 
about me, my friend, promise me that you will not be- 
lieve any of the calumnies. They are so scandalous. 
My life is very gloomy, but quite blameless. If you only 
knew what things they concoct ; they are inconceivable. 
Oh, how infamous they are ! It is enough to drive me 
mad. If it were not for my little girls I should kill my- 
self. Do you know what they say? Oh, I will not 


repeat it They say that at night workmen come in 
through that window to sleep in my bed." 

I burst out laughing. "And that distresses you? 
Why, it is foolish and absurd." 

" Yes," he said, " I am on the second floor, but they are 
so cunning that they put great ladders at night against 
the wall to make people believe it. And when I think 
that these things, these villainies, are secretly told and 
openly believed, and no one defends me. Some look on 
me coldly, others with dissimulation. Victor Hugo, 
swear to me that you will not believe any calumny." 

He stood up. I was profoundly touched ; I said a few 
kind and friendly words to quiet him. 

He continued : 

" Ah, what abominable hatreds ! This is how it began. 
When I went out of doors they managed so that every- 
thing I saw should have an ominous look. I met only 
men buttoned up to the chin, people dressed in red, 
extraordinary costumes ; women dressed half in black, 
half in violet, who looked at me and shouted for joy ; and 
everywhere hearses of little children, followed by other 
little children, some in black, others in white. You will 
tell me, 'But those are mere omens, and a vigorous 
mind is not disturbed by oiqens.' Well, I know that. 
It is not the omens which alarm me, it is the thought 
that I was so much hated that people took all this 
trouble to bring round about me so many depressing 
sights. If a man hates me sufficiently to surround me 
constantly with a flight of crows, what appalls me is not 
the crows, but his hatred." 

Here I again interrupted him. " You have enemies," I 
said to him ; " but you also have friends, think of that." 

He abruptly withdrew his hands from mine. " Now, 
just listen to what I am going to say to you, Victor Hugo, 
and you will know what I have in my mind. You will 


be able to tell how I suffer, and how my enemies have 
succeeded in destroying all confidence and excluding all 
the light from within me. I no longer know what I am 
doing, or what is wanted of me. Now you, for instance, 
are as noble a man as any that exists. You are of the 
blood of La Vendde, of military blood ; I will go further, 
and say of warriors' blood. There is nothing in you 
that is not pure and loyal; you are independent of 
everybody ; I have known you for twenty years, and I 
have never seen you do any act which was not upright 
and honourable. Well, you may imagine my misery, for 
in my soul and conscience I am not sure you have not 
been sent here by my enemies to spy upon me." 

He was in such anguish that I could not but pity him. 
I took his hand once more. He looked at me with a 
haggard look. 

" Villemain," I said, " doubt that the sky is blue, but 
do not doubt that the friend who addresses you is loyaL" 

" Forgive me," he rejoined, " forgive me. Ah, I know 
the things I have been saying are absurd. You, at least, 
have never failed me, although you may have had some- 
times to complain of me. But I have so many enemies. 
If you only knew ! This house is full of them. They 
are everywhere, concealed, invisible; they beset me. I 
feel that their ears are listening to me, I feel that their 
looks are fixed upon me. What an anxiety it is to live 
like this ! " 

At this moment, by one of those strange coincidences 
which sometimes happen as though by design, a little 
door hidden in the wainscotting near the fireplace sud- 
denly opened. He turned round on hearing the noise. 

" What is it ? " He went to the door. It communi- 
cated with a little corridor. He looked into the corridor. 

" Is there any one there ? " he asked. 

There was no one. 


* It is the wind," I said. 

He came back to me, placed his finger on his lips, 
looked straight at me, and said in a low tone, and with 
an indescribable tone of horror, " Oh, no ! " 

Then he remained for some moments motionless and 
silent, with his finger upon his lips, like some one listen- 
ing for something, and with his eyes half turned towards 
the door which he had left open. 

I felt that it was time to speak earnestly to him. I 
made him sit down again, and took him by the hand. 

" Listen, Villemain," I said, " you have your enemies, 
numerous enemies, I admit " He interrupted me, his 
face lighted up with a sad joy. 

" Ah ! " he said, " you, at all events, admit it. All these 
fools tell me that I have no enemies, and that I am 

" Yes," I replied, " you have your enemies ; but who 
has not ? Guizot has enemies, Thiers has enemies, La- 
martine has enemies. Have I not myself been fighting for 
twenty years ? Have I not been for twenty years past 
hated, rended, sold, betrayed, reviled, hooted, taunted, in- 
sulted, calumniated ? Have not my books been parodied 
and my deeds travestied ? T also am beset and spied 
upon ; I also have traps set for me, and I have even been 
made to fall in them. Who knows that I was not fol- 
lowed this very day as I came from my house to yours ? 
But what is all that to me ? I disdain it. It is one of 
the most difficult yet necessary things in life to learn to 
disdain. Disdain protects and crushes. It is a breast- 
plate and a club. You have enemies ? Why, it is the 
story of every man who has done a great deed or created 
a new idea. It is the cloud which thunders around 
everything, which shines. Fame must have enemies, as 
light must have gnats. Do not bother yourself about it; 
disdain. Keep your mind serene as you keep your life 


clear. Do not give your enemies the satisfaction of 
thinking that they cause you grief or pain. Be happy, 
be cheerful, be disdainful, be firm." 

He shook his head sadly. " That is easy for you to 
say, Victor Hugo. As for me, I am weak. Oh, I know 
myself ! I know my limitations. I have some talent in 
writing, but I do not know how far it goes ; I have some 
precision of thought, but I do not know how far it goes. 
I am soon fatigued. I have no staying power. I am weak, 
irresolute, hesitating. I have not done all that I could have 
done. In the realms of thought I do not possess all that 
is needful for creating ; in the sphere of action I do not 
possess all that is needful for struggling. Strength is 
precisely what I am wanting in ; and disdain is a form 
of strength." 

He was lost in thought for a moment, then added, this 
time with a smile, " Anyhow, you have done me good ; 
you have quieted me, I feel better. Equanimity is in- 
fectious. Oh, if I could only bring myself to treat my 
enemies as you treat yours ! " 

At this moment the door opened and two persons en- 
tered, a M. Fortoul, I think, and a nephew of Ville- 
main's. I rose. 

" Are you going already ? " he said to me. 

He conducted me through the corridor as far as the 
staircase. " There, my friend," he said to me, " I believe 
in you." 

" Well," I said, " I have told you to despise your ene- 
mies. Do so. But you have two whom you must take 
into account, and of whom you must rid yourself. These 
two enemies are solitude and brooding. Solitude brings 
sadness; brooding brings uneasiness. Do not remain 
alone, and never brood. Move about, go out, walk, mi* 
your ideas with the surrounding air, breathe freely and 
with long breaths, visit your friends, come and see me." 


" But will you be at home to me ? " he said. 

"I shall be delighted." 


* Every evening, if you like." 

He hesitated, then said, " Well, I will come. I want 
to see you often. You have done me good. Good-by. 
I shall see you before long." 

He hesitated again, then added, 

" But supposing I do not come ? " 

"Then," I said, "I shall come to you." 

I shook hands with him and went down the stairs. 

As I reached the bottom, and was about to step into 
the courtyard, I heard his voice saying, " I shall see you 
before long, eh ? " I looked up. He had come down one 
flight of stairs to bid me good-bye with a gentle smile. 


Me? 31. 

THE Court of Peers is summoned to try the case of 
another attempt upon the person of the king. 
On the 16th of April last the king went for a drive in 
the forest of Fontainebleau, in a char d banes. At his 
side was M. de Montalivet, and behind him were the 
queen and several of their children. They were return- 
ing home towards six o'clock, and were passing by the 
walls of the Avon enclosure, when two gunshots were 
fired from the left. No one was hit. Eangers, gendarmes, 
officers of hussars who escorted the king, all sprang for- 
ward. A groom climbed over the wall and seized a man 
whose face was half masked with a neckerchief. He was 
an ex-Ranger-general of the forests of the Crown, who 
had been dismissed from his post eighteen months before 
for a grave dereliction of duty. 

June 1, midday. 

The orators' tribune and the president's chair have 
been removed. 

The accused is seated on the spot where the tribune 
usually stands, and is placed with his back to a green 
baize curtain, placed there for the trial, between four 
gendarmes with grenadiers' hats, yellow shoulder-straps, 
and red plumes. In front of him are five barristers, with 
white bands at their necks and black robes. The one in 
the centre has the Cross of the Legion of Honour and 


grey hair. It is Maitre Duvergier, the bdtonnier. 1 Be- 
hind the prisoner red benches, occupied by spectators, 
cover the semi-circle where the chancellor usually 

The prisoner is forty-eight years of age ; he does not 
appear to be more than about thirty-six. He has nothing 
in his appearance which would suggest the deed which he 
has done. It is one of those calm and almost insignifi- 
cant countenances, which impress rather favourably than 
otherwise. General Voirol, who sits beside me, says to 
me, "He looks a good-natured fellow." However, a dark 
look gradually overspreads the face, which is somewhat 
handsome, although of a vulgar type, and he looks like 
an ill-natured fellow. From the seat which I occupy his 
hair and moustache appear black. He has a long face 
with ruddy cheeks. He casts his eyes almost continually 
downward ; when he raises them, every now and then, he 
looks right up at the ceiling; if he were a fanatic, 1 
should say up to heaven. He has a black cravat, a 
white shirt, and an old black frock-coat, with a single 
row of buttons, and wears no ribbon, although belonging 
to the Legion of Honour. 

General Berthuz&ne leans forward towards me, and tells 
me that Lecomte yesterday remained quiet all day, but 
that he became furious when he was refused a new black 
frock-coat which he had asked for to appear in before the 
High Court. This is a trait of character. 

While the names of the Peers were being called over 
his eyes wandered here and there. To the preliminary 
questions of the chancellor he replied in a low tone of 
voice. Some of the Peers called out, " Speak up ! " The 
chancellor told him to look towards the Court. 

The witnesses were brought in, among whom were one 

1 The b&tonnier is the head of the Bar, and presides over the Council 
which regulates the etiquette of the profession. T&. 


or two women, very stylishly dressed, and some peasant 
women. They are on my right, in the lobby on the left 
of the tribune. M. Decazes walks about among the wit- 
nesses. M. de Montalivet, the first witness, is called. 
He wears the red ribbon, together with two stars, one of 
a foreign order. He comes in limping, on account of his 
gout. A footman in a russet livery with a red collar 
assists him. 

I have examined the articles brought forward in sup- 
port of the indictment, which are in the right-hand pas- 
sage. The gun is double-barrelled, with twisted barrels, 
the breech ornamented with arabesques in the style of 
the Renaissance; it is almost a fancy weapon. The 
blouse worn by the assassin is blue, tolerably well worn. 
The neckerchief with which he hid his face is a cotton 
neckerchief, coffee-coloured, with white stripes. On these 
articles is hung a small card bearing the signatures of 
the prosecuting officials and the signature of "Pierre 

June 5. 

During an interval in the sitting I observed the man 
from a short distance. He looks his age. He has the 
tanned skin of a huntsman and the faded skin of a pris- 
oner. When he speaks, when he becomes animated, 
when he stands upright, his appearance becomes strange. 
His gesture is abrupt, his attitude fierce. His right eye- 
brow rises towards the corner of his forehead and gives 
him an indescribably wild and diabolical appearance. 
He speaks in a muffled but firm tone. 

At one point, explaining his crime, he said, 

"I stopped on the 15th of April at the Place du 

Carrousel. It was raining. I stood under a projecting 

roof and looked mechanically at some engravings. There 

Was a conversation going on in the shop at the side, 


where there were three men and a woman. I listened 
mechanically also. I felt sad. Suddenly I heard the 
name of the king; they were talking of the king. I 
looked at these men. I recognized them as servants at 
the Castle. They said that the king would go the next 
day to Fontainebleau. At that instant my idea appeared. 
It appeared to me plainly, dreadfully. It left oft 1 raining. 
I stretched out my hand from beneath the projection of 
the roof. I found that it no longer rained, and I went 
away. I returned home to my room, to my little room, 
bare of furniture and wretched. I remained there alone 
for three hours. I mused, I pondered, I was very un- 
happy. My project continually recurred. And then the 
rain began to come down again. The weather was 
gloomy j a strong wind was blowing ; the sky was nearly 
black. I felt like a madman. Suddenly I got up. It 
was settled. I had made up my mind. That is how the 
idea came into my head." 

At another moment, when the chancellor said that the 
crime was without a motive, he said, 

"How so? I wrote to the king once, twice, three 
times. The king did not reply. Oh, then " 

He did not finish what he had to say, but his fist 
clutched the rail fiercely. At this moment he was ter- 
rific. He was a veritable wild man. He sits down. He 
is now composed ; calm and fierce. 

While the procurator-general spoke, he moved about 
like a wolf, and appeared furious. When his counsel 
(Duvergier) spoke, tears came into his eyes. They ran 
down his cheeks, heavy and perceptible. 

Jane 6. 

This is how it takes place. On his name being called 
in a loud voice by the clerk of the Court, each Peer rises 
and pronounces sentence also in a loud voice. 


The thirty-two Peers who have voted before me have 
all declared for the parricide's penalty. One or two have 
mitigated this to capital punishment. 

When my turn came, I rose and said, 

" Considering the enormity of the crime and the small- 
ness of the motive, it is impossible for me to believe that 
the delinquent acted in the full possession of his moral 
liberty, of his will. I do not think he is a human crea- 
ture having an exact perception of his ideas and a clear 
consciousness of his actions. I cannot sentence this man 
to any other punishment but imprisonment for life." 

I said these words in very loud tones. At the first 
words all the Peers turned round and listened to me in 
the midst of a silence which seemed to invite me to con- 
tinue. I stopped short there, however, and sat down 

The calling of the names continued. 

The Marquis de Boissy said, 

* We have heard these solemn words. Viscount Victor 
Hugo has given utterance to an opinion which deeply 
impresses me, and to which I give my adhesion. I think, 
with him, that the delinquent is not in full possession of 
his reason. I declare for imprisonment for life." 

The calling of the names continues with the lugubri- 
ously monotonous rejoinder : " Capital punishment, parri- 
cide's penalty." 

Proceeding by seniority, according to the dates at 
which the members of the House have taken their seats, 
the list comes down to the names of the oldest Peers. 
Viscount Dubouchage being called in his turn, said, 

" Being already uneasy in my mind during the trial, 
owing to the manner of the accused, but fully convinced 
by the observations of M. Victor Hugo, I declare that, in 
my opinion, the delinquent is not of sound mind. Vis- 
count Hugo gave the reasons for this opinion in a few 


words, but in a way which appears to me conclusive. I 
support him in his vote, and I declare, like himself, for 
imprisonment for life." 

The other Peers, of whom a very small number re- 
mained, all voted for the parricide's penalty. 

The chancellor, being called on last, rose and said, 

" I declare for the parricide's penalty. Now a second 
vote will be taken. The first vote is only provisional, 
the second alone is final. All are, therefore, at liberty to 
retract or confirm their votes. An opinion worthy of 
profound consideration in itself, not less worthy of con- 
sideration owing to the quarter whence it emanates, has 
been put forward with authority, although supported by 
a very small minority, during the progress of the voting. 
I think it right to declare here that during the continu- 
ance of the long inquiry preceding the prosecution, during 
seven weeks, I saw the accused every day ; I examined 
him, pressed him, questioned him, and, as old Parlia- 
mentarians say, 'turned him round* in every direction. 
Never for a single moment was his clearness of percep- 
tion obscured. I always found that he reasoned cor- 
rectly according to the frightful logic of his deed, but 
without mental derangement, as also without repentance. 
He is not a madman : he is a man who knows what he 
wanted to do, and who admits what he has done. Let 
him suffer the consequences." 

The second call has begun. The number of Peers 
voting for the parricide's penalty has increased. On my 
name being called I rose. I said, 

"The Court will appreciate the scruples of one in 
whose conscience such formidable questions are suddenly 
agitated for the first time. This moment, my lords, is a 
solemn one for all, for no one more than for myself. For 
eighteen years past I have had fixed and definite ideas 
upon the subject of irreparable penalties. Those ideas 


you are acquainted with. As a mere author I have pub- 
lished them ; as a politician, with God's help I will apply 
them. As a general rule, irreparable penalties are repug- 
nant to me; in no particular instance do I approve of 
them. I have listened attentively to the observations 
of the chancellor. They are weighty, coming from so 
eminent a mind. I am struck by the imposing unanimity 
of this imposing assembly. But while the opinion of 
the chancellor and the unanimity of the Court are much, 
from the point of view of discussion, they are nothing in 
face of one's conscience. Before the speeches began I 
read, re-read, studied all the documents of the trial; 
during the pleadings I studied the attitude, the looks, 
the gestures, I scrutinized the soul of the accused. Well, 
I tell this Court, composed as it is of just men, and I 
tell the chancellor, whose opinion has so much weight, 
that I persist in my vote. The accused has led a solitary 
life. Solitude is good for great and bad for little minds. 
Solitude disorders those minds which it does not en- 
lighten. Pierre Lecomte, a solitary man with a small 
mind, was necessarily destined to become a savage man 
with a disordered mind. The attempt upon the king, 
the attempt on a father, at such a time; when he was 
surrounded by his family ; the attempt upon a small 
crowd of women and children, death dealt out hap-hazard, 
twenty possible crimes inextricably added to a crime de- 
termined upon, there is the deed. It is monstrous. 
Now, let us examine the motive. Here it is : A deduc- 
tion of twenty francs out of an annual allowance, a resig- 
nation accepted, three letters remaining unanswered. 
How can one fail to be struck by such a reconciliation 
and such an abyss ? I repeat, in conclusion, in the pres- 
ence of these two extremes, the most monstrous crime, 
the most insignificant motive, it is evident to me that 
the thing is absurd, that the mind which has made such 


a reconciliation and crossed such an abyss is an illogical 
mind, and that this delinquent, this assassin, this wild 
and solitary man, this fierce, savage being, is a madman. 
To a doctor, perhaps, he is not a madman ; to a moralist 
he certainly is. I will add that policy is here in har- 
mony with justice, and that it is always well to deny 
human reason to a crime which revolts against nature, 
and shakes society in its foundations. I adhere to my 

The Peers listened to me with profound and sympa- 
thetic attention. M. de Boissy and M. Dubouchage re- 
mained firm, as I did. 

There were two hundred and thirty-two voters. This 
is how the votes were distributed : 

196 for the parricide's penalty ; 
33 for capital punishment ; 
3 for imprisonment for life. 

The entire House of Peers may be said to have been 
displeased at the execution of Lecomte. He had been 
condemned in order that he might be pardoned. It was 
an opportunity for mercy held out to the king. The 
king eagerly seized such opportunities, and the House 
knew this. When it learned that the execution had 
actually taken place it was surprised, almost hurt. 

Immediately after the condemnation, the chancellor 
and Chief President Franck-Carrg, were summoned by 
the king. M. Franck-Carrg was the Peer who had been 
delegated to draw up the case. They went to the king 
in the chancellor's carriage. M. Franck-Carrf, although 
he voted for the parricide's penalty, was openly in favour 
of a pardon. The chancellor also leaned in this direc- 
tion, although he would not declare himself on the sub- 
ject On the way he said to President Franck-Carrf : 
"I directed the inquiry, I directed the prosecution, I 


directed the trial. I had some influence over the vote. 
I will not give my opinion on the subject of a pardon. 
I have enough responsibility as it is. They will do what 
they like." 

In the cabinet of the king he respectfully adopted 
the same tone. He declined to commit himself to a 
definite opinion on the subject of a pardon. President 
Franck-Carrg was explicit. The king saw what was the 
real opinion of the chancellor. 

Maitre Duvergier had conceived an affection for his 
client, as a barrister always does for the client he has to 
defend. It is a common result. The public prosecutor 
ends by hating the accused, and the counsel for the de- 
fence by loving him. Lecomte was sentenced on a 
Friday. On the Saturday M. Duvergier went to see the 
king. The king received him in a friendly manner, but 
said, " I will see about it ; I will consider it. The matter 
is a grave one. My danger is the danger of all. My 
life is of consequence to France, so that I must defend it 
However, I will think the matter over. You know that 
I detest capital punishment. Every time I have to sign 
the dismissal of an appeal for a pardon I am the first to 
suffer. All my inclinations, all my instincts, all my 
convictions are on the other side. However, I am a 
constitutional king ; I have ministers who decide. And 
then naturally I must think a little of myself too." 

M. Duvergier was dreadfully grieved. He saw that 
the king would not grant a pardon. 

The Council of Ministers was unanimously in favour 
of the execution of the sentence of the Court of Peers. 

On the following day, Sunday, M. Duvergier received 
by express a letter from the Keeper of the Seals, Martin 
du Nord, announcing to him that " the king thought it 
right to decide that the law should take its course." He 
was still under the influence of the first shock of hope 


definitively shattered when a fresh express arrived. An- 
other letter. The Keeper of the Seals informed the 
bdtonnier that the king, wishing to accord to the con- 
demned man, Pierre Lecointe, a further token of his 
good-will, had decided that the yearly allowance of the 
said Lecomte should revert to his sister for her lifetime, 
and that his Majesty had placed an immediate sum of 
three thousand francs at the disposal of the sister for her 
assistance. " I thought, M. le Batonnier," said the Keeper 
of the Seals, in conclusion, " that it would be agreeable 
to you to communicate yourself to the unhappy woman 
this evidence of the royal favour." 

M. Duvergier thought he had made some mistake in 
reading the first letter. "A further token," he said to 
one of his friends, who was present. " I was mistaken, 
then. The king grants the pardon." But he re-read 
the letter, and saw that he had read it only too correctly. 
A further token remained inexplicable to him. He re- 
fused to accept the commission which the Keeper of the 
Seals asked him to undertake. 

As to the sister of Lecomte, she refused the three 
thousand francs and the pension ; she refused them with 
something of scorn and also of dignity. " Tell the king," 
she said, "that I thank him. I should have thanked 
him better for something else. Tell him that I do not 
forget my brother so quickly as to take his spoils. This 
is not the boon that I expected of the king. I want 
nothing. I am very unhappy and miserable, I am nearly 
starving of hunger, but it pleases me to die like this, 
since my brother died like that. He who causes the 
death of the brother has no right to support the sister." 

M. Marilhac plays throughout this affair a lugubriously 
active part. He was a member of the Commission of the 
Peers during the preliminaries to the trial. He wanted 
to omit from the brief for the prosecution the letter of 


Dr. Gallois, in which he spoke of Lecomte as a mad- 
man. It was at one moment proposed to suppress the 

Lecomte displayed some courage. At the kst moment, 
however, on the night preceding the execution, he asked, 
towards two o'clock, to see the procurator-general, M. 
Hubert ; and M. Hubert, on leaving him after an interview 
of a quarter of an hour, said, " He has completely col- 
lapsed ; the mind is gone." 

June 12. 

I dined yesterday at the house of M. Decazes with Lord 
Palmerston and Lord Lansdowne. 

Lord Palmerston is a stout, short, fair man, who is said 
to be a good talker. His face is full, round, broad, red, 
merry, and shrewd, slightly vulgar. He wore a red ribbon 
and a star, which I think is that of the Bath. 

The Marquis of Lansdowne affords a striking contrast 
to Lord Palmerston. He is tall, dark, spare, grave, and 
courteous, with an air of breeding, a gentleman. He had 
a star upon his coat, and round his neck a dark-blue 
ribbon, to which hung a gold-enamelled decoration, round- 
shaped, and surmounted by the Irish harp. 

M. Decazes brought these two gentlemen to meet ma 
We spoke for some minutes of Ireland, of bread-stuffs, 
and of the potato disease. 

u Ireland's disease is graver still," I said to Lord 

"Yes," he replied; "the Irish peasants are very 
wretched. Now, your country folk are happy. Ah, you 
are favoured 'by the skies ! What a climate is that of 
France ! " 

" Yes, my lord," I rejoined ; " but you are favoured by 
the sea. What a citadel is England t " 

Lady Palmerston is graceful and talks well She must 


have been charming at one time. She is no longer young. 
Lord Palmerstou married her four years ago, after a 
mutual passion which had lasted for thirty years. I 
conclude from this that Lord Palmerston belongs a little 
to history and a great deal to romance. 

At table I was between M. de Montalivet and Alexandre 
Dumas. M. de Montalivet wore the cross of the Legion 
of Honour, and Alexandre Dumas the cross of an order 
which he told me was that of St. John, and which I 
believe to be Piedmontese. 

I led up in conversation with M. de Montalivet to the 
event of the 16th of April. He was, it is well known, in 
the char & banes by the king's side. 

" What were you conversing with the king about at the 
moment of the report ? " I said. 

" I cannot remember," he replied. " I took the liberty 
of questioning the king upon this subject. He could not 
recall it either. The bullet of Lecomte destroyed some- 
thing in our memory. All I know is that while our con- 
versation was not important, we were very intent upon 
it If it had not absorbed our attention we should cer- 
tainly have perceived Lecomte when he stood up above 
us to fire ; the king, at all events, would have done so, 
for I myself was turning my back somewhat to speak to 
the king. All that I remember is that I was gesticulating 
very much at the moment. When the first shot was fired, 
some one in the suite cried, * It is a huntsman unloading 
his gun/ I said to the king, ' A strange kind of huntsman 
to fire the remains of his powder at kings/ As I finished 
speaking the second shot went off. I cried, ' It is an 
assassin ! ' * Oh 1 ' said the king, ( not so fast ; do not let 
us judge too hastily. Wait, we shall see what it means/ 
You see in that the character of the king, do you not ? 
Calm and serene in the presence of the man who has just 
fired at him almost kindly, At this moment the queen 


touched me gently on the shoulder ; I turned round. 
She showed me, without uttering a word, the wadding of 
the gun which had fallen upon her lap, and which she 
had just picked up. There was a certain calmness in 
this silence which was solemn and touching. The queen, 
when the carriage leans over a little, trembles for fear 
she will be upset ; she makes the sign of the cross when 
it thunders ; she is afraid of a display of fireworks ; she 
alights when a bridge has to be crossed. When the king 
is fired upon in her presence she is calm." 


July 29, midnight. 

SUZANNE, the chambermaid, has just returned home. 
She has been to the fete to see the fireworks. On 
coming in she was radiant she said, " Oh ! what a 
lucky thing, madame ! It was my cousin who arrested 
the man who fired upon the king." " What 1 Has any 
one fired at the king ? " " Yes, and my cousin arrested 
the man. What a lucky thing! It was this evening, 
just now. The king was on the balcony. The man fired 
two pistol-shots together, and missed the king. Oh, how 
people applauded ! The king was pleased. He pointed 
out himself where the smoke came from. But my cousin, 
who is a policeman in plain clothes, was there, close to 
the man. He only had to turn round. He took the 
man into custody." "What is his name?" "Joseph 
Legros." " The assassin ? " " No, my cousin. He is a 
tall fellow. The man is little. I do not know his name. 
I have forgotten it He looked sad ; he pretended to be 
crying. When he was taken away he said, ' Oh dear ! I 
must die, then.' He is fifty years old. Some gold was 


found on him. I should think he will have a bad time 
of it to-night My cousin is delighted, and the cur6 also 
is delighted." (This is a canon of Notre-Daine who 
resides in the same building as the cousin in the police.) 
" What luck, eh ! Madame, what luck ! " 

July 30. 

There is close to here, in the Rue de Limoges, a house 
with a carriage-way of solemn and gloomy appearance, 
some old court-house, with a little square yard. On the 
left-hand side of the door is a great black board, in the 
centre of which are the Arms of France. Upon this 
board is an inscription in wooden letters, formerly gilt, 
and running thus : 



of every kind, 
for Udiat. 



Joseph Henri is the assassin. He has a wife and three 

On the right-hand side in the courtyard there is a 
house-door, above which is seen : 



The whole house is of a fallen and dismal appearance. 


August I. 

The day before yesterday I went to inscribe my name 
at the palace of the king, who has gone to Eu. This is 
done upon a kind of register, with a green parchment 
back like a laundress's book. There are five registers, 
one for each member of the royal family. Every evening 
the registers are forwarded to the king, and the queen 
carefully reads them. 

I do not suppose people inscribed their names at the 
residence of Louis XIV. or of Napoleon. 

This reminds me of the first time I dined at the 
Tuileries. A month afterwards I met M. de Itemusat, 
who was among the guests, and who says, " Have you 
paid your visit of digestion ? " 

Homely manners are charming and graceful, but they 
go rather too far sometimes. I thoroughly understand 
royalty living a homely life, but this granted, I prefer the 
patriarchal style to the homely style. Patriarchal life is 
as simple as homely life, and as majestic as royal life. 

M. Lebrun, who came to leave his name at the same 
time as I did, was telling me that a few years ago the 
King of the Belgians was at the Tuileries. M. Lebrun 
goes to see him. He speaks to the hall porter. "Can I 
see the King of the Belgians, please ? " " The King of 
the Belgians ? Oh ! yes, sir, in the second courtyard, 
through the little door. Go up to the third floor and 
turn to the left along the corridor. The King of the 
Belgians is No. 9." 

The Prince de Joinville lives in a little attic at the 
Tuileries. The Duke of Saxe-Coburg is lodged in the 
Louvre in a corridor. Like the King of the Belgians, he 
has his card nailed upon the door: "Duke of Saie- 


August 25. 

The trial of Joseph Henri begins to-day in the Court 
of Peers. 

The prisoner is brought in after the Court is seated by 
four gendarmes, of whom two hold him by the arms. 
There were six to Lecomte. Joseph Henri is a little 
man, who appears over fifty years of age. He is dressed 
in a black frock-coat ; he has a black silk waistcoat and 
black cravat, whiskers, black hair, a long nose. He 
wears eye-glasses. 

He enters, bows three times to the Court, as an actor 
bows to the pit, and sits down. During the calling of 
the names he takes snuff with a profound look of ease. 

The chancellor tells him to rise, and asks him his 
surname and Christian names, He replies in a low tone 
of voice, in a subdued and timid manner. "Speak 
louder," said the chancellor. The prisoner repeats his 
replies loudly and very distinctly. He looks like a 
worthy citizen who is taking out a passport, and who is 
being questioned by the government employ^. He sits 
down and whispers a few words to his counsel, M. Ba- 
roche, batonnier of the order of barristers. There are 
five barristers at the bar. Among the crowd which 
throngs the semi-circle behind the prisoner is a priest 
Not far from the priest is a Turk. 

The prisoner is so short that when he stands up he 
does not reach above the heads of the gendarmes seated 
beside him. From time to time he blows his nose loudly 
in a white handkerchief with blue squares. He has the 
appearance of a country registrar. His person altogether 
suggests something ineffably mild, sad, and subdued. 
Every now and then, however, he holds his head in his 
two hands, and a look of despair penetrates through the 
air of indifference. He is, in fact, despairing and indiffer- 


ent at one and the same time. When the procurator- 
general and the chancellor tell him that he is playing a 
part, he looks at them without any appearance of resent- 
ment, and like a man who does not understand. 

He speaks a great deal, rather fast, sometimes in low, 
at others in very loud, tones. He appears to see things only 
through, a veil, and to hear only through a screen. One 
would imagine there was a wall, barely transparent, be- 
tween the real world and himself. He looks fixedly, just 
as if he is seeking to make out things and distinguish 
faces from behind a barrier. He utters rambling words 
in a subdued manner. They have a meaning, however, 
for a thoughtful person. 

He concludes a long explanation thus : " My crime is 
without a stain. At present my soul is as in a labyrinth." 

The procurator-general said to him, " I am not to be 
imposed on by you. You have an object, and that is to 
escape the death penalty by appearing to invite it, and 
in this way to secure some less grave penalty." 

" Pooh ! " he exclaimed ; "how can you say so ? Other 
penalties are a punishment, the penalty of death is anni- 

He stood musing for a moment, and then added: 
"For eighteen years my mind has suffered. I do not 
know what state my mind is in ; I cannot say. But you 
see I am not trying to play the madman." 

" You had," the chancellor said, " ferocious ideas." 

He replies : " I had no ferocious ideas ; I had only 
ideas " (here he indicates with a gesture an imaginary 
flight of birds hovering round his head) " which I thought 
came to me from God." 

Then he remains silent for a moment, and continues, 
almost violently : " I have suffered a great deal, a great 
deal " (folding his arms). " And do you think I suffer 
no longer ? " 
VOL. xxiv. 7 


Objection is made to certain passages of what he has 

" Just as you please. All that I have written I have 
written, written, written ; but I have not read it." 

At another moment he breaks out unexpectedly amid 
the examination with this : " I have beliefs. My princi- 
pal belief is that there are rewards and punishments 

The names of all the regicides, of Fieschi, of Alibaud, 
of Lecomte, are mentioned to him. His face becomes 
clouded, and he exclaims, " How is it you speak to me of 
all those whose names you have just mentioned ? " 

At this moment Viennet comes up behind me, and 
says, " He is not a madman, he is a fool." 

For myself I should have said the precise contrary. 

He is asked, " Why did you write to M. de Lamartine 
andM. Raspail?" 

He replies, "Because I had read some of their writ- 
ings, and they appeared to me to be philanthropists ; and 
because I thought that philanthropy should not be found 
only in a pen point." 

He frequently concludes his replies with this word, 
addressed to the Court, and uttered almost in a whisper, 

The procurator-general recapitulates all the charges, and 
concludes by asking him, " What have you to say in 

" I have no reply to make." 

And he places his hand on his forehead as if he had a 
pain there. 

In the midst of a long rambling statement, mingled 
here and there with flashes of intelligence, and even of 
thoughtfulnees, he stops short to ask for a basin of soup, 
and gives a number of directions to the attendant who 
brings it to him. He has a fit of trembling which is 


plainly perceptible. He drinks a glass of water several 
times during the examination. He trembles so violently 
that he cannot carry the glass to his lips without holding 
it with both hands. 

He calls the procurator-general "Monsieur le Procu- 
reur." When he speaks of the king he says "his 

During the very violent speech, for the prosecution, of 
the procurator-general he makes signs of approval. Dur- 
ing the speech for the defence, of his counsel, he makes 
signs of disagreement. However, he listens to them 
with profound attention. At one point M. Hubert said, 
"The prisoner has no political animus. He even pro- 
tests his respect and admiration for the king." Joseph 
Henri nods his head twice in token of assent. At an- 
other moment the procurator-general says that the pris- 
oner wants to secure a ludicrously inadequate punishment. 
He says " No," with a shake of his head, and takes snuff. 

During the temporary rising of the Court Villemain 
came to me in the reading-room, and said, " What do you 
think of all this ? It seems to me that no one here is 
genuine, neither the prisoner, nor the procurator-general, 
nor the chancellor. They all look to me as though they 
are shamming, and as though not one of them says what 
he thinks. There is something false, equivocal, and 
confused in this affair." 

During the trial Villemain contemplated Joseph Henri 
with fixed and melancholy interest 

August V. 

The deliberation began at twenty minutes past eight 
o'clock. The Peers, without swords or hats, sit with 
closed doors ; only the clerks are present On taking their 
seats the Peers cried out on all sides, " Open the ventila- 
tors ; let us have some light ; give us some air ! " 


The heat that was in the hermetically sealed room was 

Two questions were asked by the chancellor: 

" Is the prisoner Henri guilty of the attempt upon the 
life of the king ? Is he guilty of an attempt upon the 
person of the king ? " 

I should not omit to say that during the calling of the 
names, Lagren^e said to me, " I shall be the only one of 
the diplomatic body who will not vote for the sentence 
of death." I congratulated him, and he went and sat 
down again behind the bench occupied by Bussifere. 

Another Peer, one of the new ones, whom I did not 
know, left his seat, came towards me, and seated himself 
upon the empty chair at the side, saying to me, " You do 
not know me ? " " No." " Well, I nursed you when you 
were little, no higher than that, upon my knees. I am 
a friend of your father's. I am General Kapatel." 

I remembered the name, which my father had often 
mentioned. I shook hands with the general. We con- 
versed affectionately. He spoke to me of my childhood, 
I spoke to him of his great battles, and both of us became 
younger again. Then silence took place. The voting 
had begun. 

The voting went on, on the question of an attempt on 
the life or an attempt on the person, without its being 
ascertained beforehand whether the difference in the 
crime involved any difference in the penalty. However, 
it was soon evident that those Peers who decided that it 
was an attempt on the person did not desire the death 
penalty, and the majority of this opinion became larger 
and larger. 

As the second vote was about to be taken, I said : " It 
results from the deliberation on the whole, and from the 
earnest views which have been put forward, that, in the 
opinion of all the judges, the words 'person of the king' 


have a double sense, and that they signify the physical 
person and the moral person. These two senses, how- 
ever, are distinct to the conscience, although they are 
confounded in the vote. The physical person has not 
been injured, has not been seriously menaced, as nearly 
all my noble colleagues are agreed. It is only the moral 
person who has been not only menaced, but even injured. 
Having given this explanation, and with this reserve, 
that it is perfectly understood that it is the moral person 
only that is injured, I associate myself with the immense 
majority of my colleagues, who declare the prisoner, 
Joseph Henri, guilty of an attempt upon the person of 
the king." 

The clerk proclaimed the result : 

One hundred and twenty-two Peers decided for an 
attempt on the person; thirty-eight for an attempt on 
the life ; four for an act of contempt. 

The sitting was suspended for a quarter of an hour. 
The Peers left the Court, and became scattered in groups 
in the lobby. I conversed with M. de la Redorte, and I 
told him that if it came to the point I admitted State 
policy as well as justice, but on the condition that I 
should consider State policy as the human voice, and 
justice as the Divine voice. M. de Mornay came up to 
me and said that the Anciens abandoned the death 
penalty; that they were sensible of the feeling of the 
House, and gave way to it ; but that, in agreement with 
the majority, they would vote for penal servitude for 
life, and I was asked to give my support to this vote. I 
said that it was impossible for me to do so ; that I con- 
gratulated our Anciens on having abandoned the death 
penalty, but that I should not vote for penal servitude; 
that, in my opinion, the punishment exceeded the offence; 
that, moreover, it was not in harmony with the dignity 
of the Chamber or its precedents. 


The sitting was resumed at half-past four. 

When my turn came, I simply said, "Detention for 

Several Peers gave the same vote. Thirteen in all 
Fourteen voted the death penalty ; a hundred and thirty- 
three penal servitude for life. 

Several Peers said to me, " You ought to be satisfied ; 
there is no death sentence. The judgment is a good 
one." I replied, " It might have been better." 

The procurator-general and the advocate-general were 
brought in, in scarlet robes ; then the public rushed in 
noisily. There were a number of men in blouses. Two 
women who were among the crowd were turned out. 
The names of the Peers were called ; then the chancellor 
read the judgment amid profound silence. 

P. S. September 12. 

The punishment has not been commuted; the judg- 
ment will be carried out. 

Joseph Henri, who had been transferred from the 
Luxembourg and from the Conciergerie to the prison of 
La Roquette, started the day before yesterday for Toulon 
in a prison-van with cells, accompanied by eight felons. 
While the irons were being placed upon him he was 
weak, and trembled convulsively; he excited the com- 
passion of everybody. He could not believe that he was 
really a convict. He muttered in an undertone "Oh 
dear! if I had but known!" 



IEEMEMBER that on Thursday, the 10th of Septem- 
ber, 1846, St. Patient's day, I decided to go to the 
Acaddmie. There was to be a public meeting for the 
award of the Montyon prize, with a speech by M. 
Viennet Arriving at the Institute, I ascended the 
staircase rather irresolutely. In front of me ran up 
boldly and cheerfully, with the nimbleness of a school- 
boy, a member of the Institute in full dress, with his 
coat buttoned up, tight-fitting, and nipped in at the 
waist, a lean, spare man, with active step and youthful 
figure. He turned round. It was Horace Vernet. He 
had an immense moustache, and three crosses of different 
orders suspended from his neck. In 1846 Horace Vernet 
was certainly more than sixty years of age. 

Arriving at the top of the staircase, he entered I 
felt neither so young nor so bold as he, and I did not 

In the street outside the Institute I met the Marquis 
of B. " You have just come away from the Academic ? * 
he asked. " No, " I replied ; " one cannot come away with- 
out going in. And you, how is it you are in Paris ? " 
" I have just come from Bourges. * The Marquis, a very 
warm Legitimist, had been to see Don Carlos, son of 
him who took the title of Charles V. Don Carlos, whom 
the faithful called Prince of the Asturias, and after- 
wards King of Spain, and who was known to European 
diplomacy as the Count de Montemolin, looked with 
some amount of annoyance upon the marriage of his 
cousin, Dofta Isabella, with the Infante Don Francisco 
d'Assiz, Duke of Cadiz, which had just been concluded 
at this very moment. He plainly showed the Marquis 


how surprised he felt, and even let him see a letter ad- 
dressed by the Infa&te to him, the Count de Monte- 
molin, in which this phrase occurred, word for word: 
" I will abandon all thought of my cousin as long as you 
remain between her and me. " 

We shook hands, and M. de B. left me. 

As I was returning by the Quai des Morfondus, I 
passed by the lofty old towers of Saint-Louis, and I felt 
an inclination to visit the prison of the Conciergerie at 
the Palais de Justice. It is impossible to say how the 
idea came into my head to go in and see how man had 
contrived to render hideous in the inside what is so mag- 
nificent on the outside. I turned to the right, however, 
into the little courtyard, and rang at the grating of the 
doorway. The door was opened ; I gave my name. I 
had with me my peer's medal. A door-keeper was put 
at my service to serve as a guide wherever I wished 
to go. 

The first impression which strikes one on entering a 
prison is a feeling of darkness and oppression, dimin- 
ished respiration and perception, something ineffably 
nauseous and insipid intermingled with the funereal and 
the lugubrious. A prison has its odour as it has its 
chiaroscuro. Its air is not air, its daylight is not day- 
light. Iron bars have some power, it would seem, over 
those two free and heavenly things, air and light 

The first room we came to was no other than the old 
guard-room of Saint-Louis, an immense hall cut up into 
a large number of compartments for the requirements 
of the prison. Everywhere are elliptical-pointed arches 
and pillars with capitals; the whole scraped, pared, 
levelled, and marred by the hideous taste of the archi- 
tects of the Empire and the Eestoration. I make this 
remark once for all, the whole building having been 
Served in the same fashion. In this warders' room 


could still be seen on the right-hand side the nook where 
the pikes were stacked, marked out by a pointed mould- 
ing at the angle of the two walls. 

The outer office in which I stood was the spot where 
the toilet of condemned criminals took place. The office 
itself was on the left There was in this office a very 
civil old fellow, buried in a heap of cardboard cases, 
arid surrounded by nests of drawers, who rose as I en- 
tered, took off his cap, lighted a candle, and said: 

" You would like, no doubt, to see Eteloise and Ab- 
lard, sir ? * 

u By all means, * I said ; " there is nothing I should 
like better. " 

The old man took the candle, pushed on one side a 
green case bearing this inscription, " Discharges for the 
month, " and showed me in a dark corner behind a great 
nest of drawers a pillar and capital, with a representa- 
tion of a monk and a nun back to back, the nun holding 
in her hand an enormous phallus. The whole was 
painted yellotf, and was called H&oise and Ab41ard. 

My good man continued : 

" Now that you have seen H^loise and Ab^lard, you 
would, no doubt, like to see the condemned cell ? " 

" Certainly, " I said. 

" Show the gentleman the way, " said the good man to 
the turnkey. 

Then he dived once more into his cases. This peace- 
ful creature keeps the register of the sentences and terms 
of imprisonment. 

I returned to the outer office, where I admired as I 
passed by a very large and handsome shell-work table 
in the brightest and prettiest Louis XV. taste, with a 
marble border, but dirty, unsightly, daubed with colour 
which had once been white, and relegated to a dark 
corner Then I passed through a gloomy room, encum- 


bared with wooden bedsteads, ladders, broken panes of 
glass, and old window-frames. In this room the turn- 
key opened a door with a fearful noise of heavy keys 
and drawn bolts, and said, " That is it, sir. " 

I went into the condemned cell. 

It was rather a large place, with a low, arched ceil- 
ing, and paved with the old stone flooring of Saint-Louis, 
square blocks of lias-stone alternating with slabs of 

Some of the paving-stones were missing here and 
there. A tolerably large semi-circular vent-hole, pro- 
tected by its iron bars and projecting shaft, cast a pale 
and wan sort of light inside. No furniture, save an old 
cast-iron stove of the time of Louis XV., ornamented 
with panels in relief, which it is impossible to distin- 
guish owing to the rust, and in front of the skylight a 
large arm-chair in oak, with an opening in the seat 
The chair was of the period of Louis XIV. , and covered 
with leather, which was partly torn away so as to ex- 
pose the horse-hair. The stove was on the right of the 
door. My guide informed me that when the cell was 
occupied a folding bedstead was placed in it. A gen- 
darme and a warder, relieved once every three hours, 
watched the condemned man day and night, standing 
the whole time, without a chair or bed, so that they 
might not fall asleep. 

We returned to the outer office, which led to two more 
rooms, the reception room of the privileged prisoners, 
who were able to receive their visitors without standing 
behind a double row of iron bars, and the saloon of the 
barristers, who are entitled to communicate freely and 
in private with their clients. This " saloon, * for so it 
was described in the inscription placed over the door, 
was a long room, lighted by an opening in the wall, and 
furnished with long wooden benches like the other one. 


It appears that some young barristers had been guilty 
of abusing the privilege of a legal tete-a-t&e. Female 
thieves and poisoners are occasionally very good-looking* 
The abuse was discovered, and the a saloon " was pro- 
vided with a glazed doorway. In this way it was pos- 
sible to see, although not to hear. 

At this juncture the governor of the Conciergerie, 
whdse name was Lebel, came up to us. He was a ven- 
erable old man, with some shrewdness in his looks. He 
wore a long frock-coat, and in his button-hole the ribbon 
of the Legion of Honour. He begged to be excused for 
not having ascertained before that I was in the place, 
and asked me to allow him to accompany me in the 
tour of inspection which I wished to make. 

The outer office led through an iron barrier into a 
long, wide, and spacious vaulted passage. 

" What is that ? " I asked M. Lebel. 

" That, * he said, " was formerly connected with the 
kitchens of Saint-Louis. It was very useful to us dur- 
ing the riots. I did not know what to do with my 
prisoners. The Prefect of Police sent and asked me, 
' Have you plenty of room just now ? How many 
prisoners can you accommodate ? ' I replied, * I can 
accommodate two hundred. ' They sent me three hun- 
dred and fifty, and then said to me, ' How many more 
can you accommodate ? ' I thought they were joking. 
However, I made room by utilizing the Women's In- 
firmary. ' You can, ' I said, ' send a hundred prisoners. ' 
They sent me three hundred. This rather annoyed me ; 
but they said, ' How many can you still find room for ? ' 
* You can now send as many as you like. * Sir, they sent 
me six hundred ! I placed them here ; they slept upon 
the ground on trusses of straw. They were very excita- 
ble. One of them, Lagrange, the Republican from 
Lyons, said to me, ' Monsieur Lebel, if you will let me 


see my sister, I promise you I will make all the men 
keep quiet.' I allowed him to see his sister; he kept 
his word, and the place, with all its six hundred devils, 
became a little heaven. My Lyons men thus continued 
well behaved and civil until the day when, the House 
of Peers having begun to move in the matter, they were 
brought in contact, during the official inquiry, with the 
Paris rioters, who were of Sainte-Pdlagie. The letter 
said to them, ' You must be mad to remain quiet like 
that. Why, you should complain, you should shout, 
you should be furious. ' My Lyons men now became 
furious, thanks to the Parisians. They became perfect 
Satans! Oh, what trouble I had! They said to me, 
' Monsieur Lebel, it is not because of you, but of the 
Government. We want to show our teeth to the (rov- 
ernment ' And Eeverchon then undressed himself and 
stood stark naked. * 

" He called that showing his teeth, did he ? * I asked 
M. Lebel. 

In the mean time the turnkey had opened the great 
railings at the far end of the corridor, then other rail- 
ings and heavy doors, and I found myself in the heart 
of the prison. 

I could see through the railed arches the men's exer- 
cise-yard. It was a tolerably large, oblong courtyard, 
above which towered on every side the high walls of 
Saint-Louis, nowadays plastered and disfigured. A num- 
ber of men were walking up and down in groups of two 
or three ; others were seated in the corners, upon the stone 
benches which surround the yard. Nearly all wore the 
prison dress, large waistcoats with linen trousers; two 
or three, however, wore black coats. One of the latter 
was clean and sedate-looking, and had a certain inde- 
scribable air of a town-bred man. It was the wreck of 
a gentleman. 


This yard had nothing repulsive-looking about it. It 
is true that the sun was shining brightly, and that 
everything looks smiling in the sun, even a prison. 
There were two beds of flowers with trees, which were 
small, but of a bright green, and between the two beds, 
in the middle of the yard, an ornamental fountain with 
a stone basin. 

This yard was formerly the cloister of the Palace. 
The Gothic architect surrounded the four sides with a 
gallery ornamented with pointed arches. The modern 
architects have covered these arches with masonry ; they 
have placed steps and partitions in them and made two 
stories. Each arcade made one cell on the ground-floor 
and one on the first floor. These cells, clean and fitted 
with timber floorings, had nothing very repulsive about 
them. Nine feet long by six feet wide, a door opening 
on to the corridor, a window overlooking the ground, 
iron bolts, a large lock, and a railed opening in the 
door, iron bars to the window, a chain, a bed in the 
angle on the left of the door, 'covered with coarse linen 
and coarse blanketing, but very carefully and neatly 
made, that is what these cells were like. It was rec- 
reation time. Nearly all the cells were open, the men 
being in the yard. Two or three, however, remained 
closed, and some of the prisoners young workmen, 
shoemakers and hatters for the most part were work- 
ing there, making a great noise with their hammers. 
They were, I was told, hard-working and well-conducted 
prisoners, who preferred to do some work rather than go 
out for exercise. 

The quarters of the privileged prisoners were above. 
The cells were rather larger, and, as a result of the greater 
liberty enjoyed here at a cost of sixteen centimes a day, 
rather less clean. As a general rule, in a prison, the 
greater the cleanliness the less liberty there is. These 


wretched beings are so constituted that their cleanliness 
is the token of their servitude. They were not alone in 
their cells ; there were, in some cases, two or three to- 
gether; there was one large room in which there were 
six. An old man with a kindly and honest-looking 
face was engaged in reading. He lifted up his eyes 
from his book when I entered, and looked at me like a 
country curd reading his breviary and seated upon the 
grass with the sky above his head. I made inquiries, 
but I could not discover of what this good-man l was 
accused. Upon the whitewashed wall near the door 
these four lines were written in pencil : 

" Dans la gendarmerie, 
Quand un gendarme rit, 
Tous les gendarmes ricnt 
Dans la gendarmerie." 2 

Beneath them a parodist had added : 

" Dans la Conciergerie, 
Quand un concierge rit, 
TOUB les concierges rient 
Dans la Conciergerie." 

M. Lebel called my attention in the yard to the spot 
where a prisoner had made his escape a few years before. 
The right angle formed by the two walls of the yard at 
the northernmost end had sufficed for the accomplish- 
ment of the man's purpose. He planted his back in 
this angle, and drew himself up solely by the muscular 
force of his shoulders, elbows, and heels, as far as the 
roof, where he caught hold of a stove-pipe. Had this 

1 Sic in the original. TR. 

1 An untranslatable pan upon the words " nne gendarmerie," or a 
station of the mounted police, and "an gendarme rit": in English, "a 
policeman laughs." In the parody which follows, the jest is heightened, 
of course, hy making all the " concierges " laugh in the Conciergerie, as 
though it were a place full of " concierges/' or door-keepers. TR. 


stove-pipe given way under his weight he would have 
been a dead man. On reaching the roof he climbed 
down again into the outer enclosure and fled. All this 
in broad daylight He was captured again in the Palais 
de Justice. His name was Bottemolle. a Such an es- 
cape was deserving of better luck, " said M. Lebel. u I 
was almost sorry to see him brought back. " 

At the beginning of the men's yard there was, on the 
left, a little office reserved for the chief warder, with a 
table placed at a right angle before the window, a 
leather-covered chair, and all kinds of cardboard cases 
and papers upon the table. Behind this table and chair 
was an oblong space of about eight feet by four. It was 
the site of the cell formerly occupied by LouveL The 
wall which divided it from the office had been demol- 
ished. At a height of about seven feet the wall ended, 
and was replaced by an iron grating reaching to the ceil- 
ing. The cell was lighted only through this and through 
the window in the door, the light coming from the corri- 
dor of the office and not from the courtyard. Through 
this grating and through the window of the door Louvel, 
whose bed was in the corner at the far end, was watched 
night and day. For all that, moreover, two turnkeys 
were placed in the cell itself. When the wall was 
pulled down the architect preserved the door a low- 
lying door, armed with a great square lock and round 
bolt and had it built into the outer wall It was 
there I saw it. 

I remember that in my early youth I saw Louvel cross 
the Pont-au- Change on the day on which he was taken 
to the Place de Gr&ve. It was, I think, in the month 
of June. The sun shone brightly. Louvel was in a 
cart, with his arms tied behind his back, a blue coat 
thrown over his shoulders, and a round hat upon his 
head. He was pale. I saw him in profile. His whole 


countenance suggested a sort of earnest ferocity and vio- 
lent determination. There was something harsh and 
frigid in his appearance. 

Before we left the men's quarters M. Lebel said, 
M Here is a curious spot. " And he made me enter a 
round, vaulted room, rather lofty, about fifteen feet in 
diameter, without any window or opening in the wall, 
and lighted only through the doorway. A circular 
stone bench stretched all round the chamber. 

" Do you know where you are now ? * asked M. Lebel. 

"Yes/ I replied. 

I recognized the famous chamber of torture. This 
chamber occupies the ground-floor of the crenellated 
tower, the smallest of the three round towers on the 

In the centre was an ominous and singular-looking 
object. It was a sort of long and narrow table of lias- 
stone, joined with molten lead poured into the crevices, 
very heavy, and supported on three stone legs. This 
table was about two and a half feet high, eight feet long, 
and twenty inches wide. On looking up I saw a great 
rusty iron hook fastened in the round stone which forms 
the key-stone of the arch. 

This object is the rack. A leather covering used to 
be put over it, upon which the victim was stretched. 
Eavaillac remained for six weeks upon this table, with 
his feet and hands tied, bound at the waist by a strap 
attached to a long chain hanging from the ceiling. The 
last ring of this chain was slipped on to the hook 
which I still saw fixed above my head. Six gentlemen 
guards and six guards of the provost's department 
watched him night and day. Damiens was guarded like 
Eavaillac in this chamber, and tied down upon this 
table during the whole time occupied by the inquiry 
and the trial of his case. Desrues, Cartouche, and 


Voisin were tortured upon it The Marchioness de 
Brinvilliers was stretched upon it stark naked, fas- 
tened down, and, so to speak, quartered by four chains 
attached to the four limbs, and there suffered the fright- 
ful a extraordinary torture by water, * which caused her 
to ask, " How are you going to continue to put that 
great barrel of water in this little body ? * 

A whole dark history is there, having filtered, so to 
speak, drop by drop, into the pores of these stones, these 
walls, this vault, this bench, this table, this pavement, 
this door. There it all is; it has never quitted the 
place. It has been shut up there, it has been bolted 
up. Nothing has escaped from it, nothing has evapo- 
rated ; no one has ever spoken, related, betrayed, revealed 
anything of it This crypt, which is like the mouth of 
a funnel turned upside down, this case made by the 
hands of man, this stone box, has kept the secret of all 
the blood it has drunk, of all the shrieks it has stifled. 
The frightful occurrences which have taken place in this 
judge's den still palpitate and live, and exhale all sorts 
of horrible miasms. What a strange abomination is 
this chamber ! What a strange abomination this tower 
placed in the very middle of the quay, without any moat 
or wall to separate it from the passer-by ! Inside, the 
saws, the boots, the wooden horses, the wheels, the pin- 
cers, the hammers which knock in the wedges, the hiss- 
ing of flesh touched with the red-hot iron, the spluttering 
of blood upon the live embers, the cold interrogatories 
of the magistrates, the despairing shrieks of the tortured 
man; outside, within four paces, citizens coming and 
going, women chattering, children playing, tradespeople 
selling their wares, vehicles rolling along, boats upon 
the river, the roar of the city, air, sky, sun, liberty! 

It is a gloomy reflection that this tower without win- 
dows has always seemed silent to the passer-by ; it made 
VOL. xxiv. 8 


no more noise then than it does now. What must be 
the thickness of these walls for the sound of the street 
not to have reached the tower, and for the sound of the 
tower not to have reached the street! 

I contemplated this table in particular with a curios- 
ity filled with awe. Some of the prisoners had carved 
their names upon it Towards the centre eight or ten 
letters, beginning with an M 9 and forming a word which 
was illegible, were rather deeply cut. At one end had 
been written with a punch the name of " Merel. " (I 
quote from memory, and may be mistaken, but I think 
that is the name.) 

The wall was hideous in its nakedness. It seemed 
as though one felt its fearful and pitiless solidity. The 
paving was the same kind of paving as in the condemned 
cell, that is to say, the old black and white stones of 
Saint-Louis in alternate squares. A large square brick 
stove had taken the place of the old heating furnace for 
the instruments of torture. This chamber is used in 
winter time as a place of warmth for the prisoners. 

We then proceeded to the women's building. After 
being in the prison for an hour, I was already so accus- 
tomed to the bolts and bars that I no longer noticed 
them, any more than the air peculiar to prisons, which 
suffocated me as I went in. It would be impossible, 
therefore, for me to say what doors were opened to ena- 
ble us to walk from the men's to the women's quarters. 
I do not remember. I only recollect that an old woman, 
with a nose like a bird of prey, appeared at a railing 
and opened the gate to us, asking us if we wished to 
look round the yard. We accepted the offer. 

The women's exercise yard was much smaller and 
much more gloomy than that of the men. There was 
only one bed of shrubs and flowers, a very narrow one, 
and I do not think there were any trees. Instead of the 


ornamental fountain there was a wash-house in the 
corner. A female prisoner with hare arms was inside 
washing her clothes. Eight or ten women were seated 
in the yard in a group, talking, sewing, and working. 
I raised my hat They rose and looked at me with 
curiosity. They were for the most part apparently of 
the lower middle class, and presented the appearance of 
small shopkeepers about forty years of age. That ap- 
peared to be the average age. There were, however, 
two or three young girls. 

By the side of the yard there was a little chamber into 
which we entered. There were two young girls there, 
one seated, the other standing. The one who was seated 
appeared ill ; the other was tending her. 

I asked, " What is the matter with that young girl ? " 

" Oh, it is nothing, " said the other, a tall and rather 
handsome dark girl with blue eyes ; she is subject to 
it. She is not very well. She was often taken like it at 
Saint-Lazare. We were there together. I look after her. " 

" What is she charged with ? " I continued. 

" She is a servant. She stole six pairs of stockings 
of her employers. " 

Just then the invalid turned pale and fainted. She 
was a poor girl of sixteen or seventeen years of age. 

" Give her some air, " I said. 

The big girl took her in her arms like a child, and 
carried her into the yard. M. Lebel sent for some 

" She took six pairs of stockings, " he said ; * but it is 
her third offence. " 

We returned to the yard. The girl lay upon the 
stones. The women crowded round her, and gave her 
the ammonia to smell. The old female warder took off 
her garters, while the big dark girl unlaced her clothing. 
As she undid her stays she said, 


* This comes over her every time she puts on stays. 
I will give you stays, you little fool ! * 

In those^ words, little fool, there was somehow or other 
a tone which was tender and sympathizing. 

We left the place. 

One of the peculiarities of the Conciergerie is that all 
the cells occupied by regicides since 1830 are in the 
women's quarters. 

I entered, first of all, the cell which had been occu- 
pied by Lecomte, and which had just been tenanted by 
Joseph Henri. It was a tolerably large chamber, al- 
most vast, well lighted, and having nothing of the cell 
about it but the stone floor, the door armed with the 
biggest lock in the Conciergerie, and the window, a 
large railed opening opposite the door. This chamber 
was furnished as follows : in the corner near the win- 
dow a boat-shaped mahogany bedstead, four and a half 
feet wide, in the most imposing style of the Eestoration ; 
on the other side of the window a mahogany writing- 
table ; near the bed a mahogany chest of drawers, with 
lacquered rings and handles ; upon the chest of drawers 
a looking-glass, and in front of the looking-glass a ma- 
hogany clock in the form of a lyre, the face gilded and 
chased ; a square carpet mat at the foot of the bed ; four 
mahogany chairs covered with Utrecht velvet ; between 
the bed and the writing-table a china stove. This fur- 
niture, with the exception of the stove, which would 
shock the taste of common-place people, is the very 
ideal of a rich shopkeeper. Joseph Henri was dazzled 
by it. I asked what had become of this poor madman. 
After having been transferred from the Conciergerie to 
the prison of La Roquette, he had set out that very 
morning, in the company of eight felons, for the convict 
prison of Toulon. 
The window of this cell looked out on the women's 


exercise yard. It was ornamented with a rnsty old 
projecting shaft, full of holes. Through these holes 
could be seen what was going on in the yard, an amuse- 
ment for the prisoner not altogether without drawbacks 
for the women, who thought themselves alone and se- 
cluded from observation in the yard. 

Near by was the cell formerly occupied by Fieschi 
and Alibaud. Ouvrard, who was the first to occupy it, 
had a marble chimney-piece placed in it (Saint-Anne 
marble, black with white veins), and a large wooden 
partition forming a recess and dressing-room. The fur- 
niture was of mahogany, and very similar to that of the 
apartment of Joseph Henri. After Fieschi and Alibaud, 
this cell had had for its occupants the Abb de Lamen- 
nais and the Marchioness de Larochejacquelein ; then 
Prince Louis Napoleon ; and, finally, that a stupid 
Prince de Berghes, n as M. Lebel put it 

Opposite these two cells was the entrance to the 
Women's Infirmary, a long and broad chamber, too low- 
lying for its size. There were a score of beds there, 
with no one in the beds. I expressed surprise at this. 

a I hardly ever have any invalids, " said M. LebeL 
" In the first place, the prisoners only stay here a short 
time. They come to await their trial, and go away 
immediately afterwards; if acquitted, at liberty; if 
convicted, to their destination. As long as they are 
here, the anticipation of their trial keeps them in a 
state of excitement which leaves room for nothing else. 
Yes, they have no time to get ill in ; they have another 
sort of feverishness than fever. At the period of the 
cholera, which was also the great period of riots, I had 
seven hundred prisoners here. They were everywhere, 
in the doorways, in the offices, in the waiting-rooms, 
in the yards, on the beds, on straw, on the paving- 
stones. I said, ' Good heavens ! It is to be hoped the 


cholera will not come in addition to all this. ' Sir, I 
did not have a single man invalided. " 

There is certainly a moral in these facts. They show 
that strong mental excitement is a preservative against 
all ailments. In times of pestilence, while sanitary and 
hygienic measures should not be neglected, the people 
should be entertained by grand fetes, grand perform- 
ances, noble impressions. If no one troubled about the 
epidemic it would disappear. 

" When they had, in the cells on the opposite side, a 
prisoner guilty of an attempt on the person of the king, 
the Women's Infirmary was converted into a guard- 
room. Here were installed fifteen or twenty warders, 
kept secluded from the outer world, like the prisoner 
himself, seeing no one, not even their wives, and this 
for the whole time of the preliminaries of the trial, 
sometimes six weeks, at others two months. That is 
what is done, " added M. Lebel, from whom I had these 
details, " when I have regicides. " 

This phrase fell from him in the most natural manner 
possible ; to him it was a sort of habit to Imvc regicides. 

u You spoke, * I said, " in a contemptuous manner of 
the Prince de Berghes. What do you think of him ? " 

He wiped his eye-glasses on his sleeve, and replied : 

a Oh, as for that, I do not think anything about him ; 
he was a wretched, great simpleton, well-bred, with ex- 
cellent manners, and a gentle expression, but a fool. 
When he arrived here I put him at first in this chamber, 
in this infirmary, which is of a good size, so that he 
might have space and air. He sent for me. ' Is my 
case a serious one, sir, ' he asked. I stammered a few 
hesitating words. ' Do you think, ' he added, ' that I 
shall be able to get away this evening ? ' ' Oh, no, ' 
I said. ' Well, to-morrow, then ? ' ' Nor to-morrow, ' 
I replied. "What! do you really think they will 


keep me here for a week ? ' ' Perhaps longer. ' * More 
than a week ! More than a week ! My case really is a 
serious one, then ? Do you think my case is serious ? ' 
He walked about in every direction, continuing to re- 
peat this question, to which I never replied. His fam- 
ily, however, did not abandon him. The duchess his 
mother, and the princess his wife, came to see him every 
day. The princess, a very pretty little woman, asked if 
she might share his prison cell I gave her to under- 
stand that this was impossible. As a matter of fact, 
what was his offence ? Forgery, certainly ; but without 
any motive. It was an act of stupidity, nothing more. 
The jury found him guilty because he was a prince. If 
he had been some rich tradesman's son, he would have 
been acquitted. After he was sentenced to three years' 
imprisonment, he was left here for some time with me, 
and then he was transferred to a sanitarium, of which a 
whole wing was secured for his exclusive use. He has 
been there nearly a year now, and he will be left there 
for six months longer; then he will be pardoned. So 
that his being a prince damaged him at his trial, but it 
benefits him in his imprisonment. " 

As we crossed the passage my guide stopped me and 
called my attention to a low door about four and a half 
feet in height, armed with an enormous square lock and 
a great bolt, very similar to the door of Louvel's cell 
It was the door of the cell of Marie- Antoinette, the only 
thing which had been preserved just as it was, Louis 
XVIII. having converted her cell into a chapeL It was 
through this door that the queen went forth to the 
Revolutionary Court; it was through it also that she 
went to the scaffold. The door no longer turned on its 
hinges. Since 1814 it had been fixed in the wall 

I have said that it had been preserved just as it was, 
but I was mistaken. It was daubed over with a fearful 


nankeen-coloured picture ; but this is of no consequence. 
What sanguinary souvenir is there which has not been 
painted either a yellow or a rose-colour ? 

A moment afterwards I was in the chapel, which 
had formerly been a cell. If one could have seen there 
the bare stone floor, the bare walls, the iron bars at the 
opening, the folding-bedstead of the queen, and the 
camp-bedstead of the gendarme, together with the his- 
toric screen which separated them, it would have created 
a profound feeling of emotion and an unutterable im- 
pression. There were to be seen a little wooden altar, 
which would have been a disgrace to a village church, a 
coloured wall (yellow of course), small stained-glass 
windows, as in a Turkish cafe, a raised wooden plat- 
form, and upon the wall two or three abominable paint- 
ings, in which the bad style of the Empire had a tussle 
with the bad taste of the Restoration. The entrance to 
the cell had been replaced by an archivault cut in the 
wall. The vaulted passage by which the queen pro- 
ceeded to the Court had been walled up. There is a 
respectful vandalism that is even more revolting than a 
vindictive vandalism, because of its stupidity. 

Nothing was to be seen there of what came under the 
eye of the queen, unless it was a small portion of the 
paved flooring, which the boards, fortunately, did not 
entirely cover. This floor was an old-fashioned, chev- 
roned pavement of bricks, laid on horizontally, with the 
narrow side uppermost. 

A straw chair, placed upon the platform, marked the 
spot where the bed of the queen had rested. 

On coming away from this venerable spot, profaned 
by a foolish piety, I went into a large apartment at the 
side, which had been the place of incarceration for the 
priests during the Terror, and which had been converted 
into the chapel of the Conciergerie. It was very mean* 


looking, and very ugly, like the chapel-cell of the 
queen. The Kevolutionary Court held its sittings 
above this apartment 

While walking about in the depths of the old build- 
ing, I perceived here and there, through openings in the 
walls, immense cellars, mysterious and deserted cham- 
bers, with portcullises opening on to the river, fearful 
dungeons, dark passages. In these crypts spiders' webs 
abounded, as well as mossy stones, sickly gleams of 
light, vague, and distorted forms. I asked M. Lebel, 
* What is this place ? " He replied, * This is no longer 
used. " What had it been used for ? 

We had to go back through the men's yard. As we 
passed through it M. Lebel pointed out to me a staircase 
near the latrines. It was here that a murderer named 
Savoye, who had been condemned to the galleys, had 
hanged himself, not many days previously, to the rail- 
ings of the baluster. " The jury have made a mistake, " 
said this man ; " I ought to have been condemned to 
death. I will settle the matter. " He settled it by hang- 
ing himself. He was put under the special supervision 
of a prisoner who had been raised to the functions of 
a warder and whom M. Lebel dismissed. 

While the governor of the Conciergerie furnished me 
with these details a decently dressed prisoner came up 
to us. He seemed to wish to be spoken to. I asked 
him several questions. He was a young fellow who had 
been a working embroiderer and lace-maker, afterwards 
the assistant to the Paris executioner, what was for- 
merly called the fl headsman's valet," and finally, he 
said, a groom in the king's stables. 

* Pray, sir, ask the governor not to have me put in 
the prison-dress, and to leave me my fainSant. * This 
word, which has to be pronounced faignant, means 
a cloth coat in the latest slang. He had, in fact, 


a tolerably good cloth coat. I obtained permission for 
him to keep it, and I got him into conversation. 

He spoke very highly of M. Sanson, the executioner, 
his former master. M. Sanson lived in the Rue du 
Marais-du-Temple, in an isolated house, of which the 
jalousies were always closed. He received many visits. 
Numbers of English people went to see him. When 
visitors presented themselves at M. Sanson 's they were 
introduced into an elegant reception-room on the ground- 
floor, furnished entirely with mahogany, in the midst of 
which there was an excellent piano, always open, and 
provided with pieces of music. Shortly afterwards M. 
Sanson arrived, and asked his visitors to be seated. The 
conversation turned upon one topic and another. Gen- 
erally the English people asked to see the guillotine. 
M. Sanson complied with this request, no doubt for some 
consideration, and conducted the ladies and gentlemen 
to the adjoining street (the Eue Albouy, I think), to the 
house of the scaffold-manufacturer. There was a shed 
at this place, where the guillotine was permanently 
erected. The strangers grouped themselves around it, and 
it was made to work. Trusses of hay were guillotined. 

One day an English family, consisting of the father, 
the mother, and three pretty daughters, fair and with 
rosy cheeks, presented themselves at Sanson 's residence. 
It was in order to see the guillotine. Sanson took them 
to the carpenter's and set the instrument at work. The 
knife fell and rose again several times at the request of 
the young ladies. One of them, however, the young- 
est, was not satisfied with this. She made the execu- 
tioner explain to her, in the minutest details, what is 
called the toilet of the condemned. Still she was not 
satisfied. At length she turned hesitatingly towards 
the executioner. 

* Monsieur Sanson, " she said. 


* Mademoiselle, " said the executioner. 

" What is done when the man is on the scaffold ? How 
is he tied down ? " 

The executioner explained the dreadful matter to her, 
and said, " We call that ' putting him in the oven. ' " 

" Well, Monsieur Sanson, " said the young lady, " I 
want you to put me in the oven." 

The executioner started. He gave an exclamation of 
surprise. The young lady insisted. " I fancy, * she 
said, " that I should like to be able to say I have been 
tied down in it. " 

Sanson spoke to the father and mother. They replied, 
" As she has taken a fancy to have it done, do it * 

The executioner had to give in. He made the young 
Miss sit down, tied her legs with a piece of string, and 
her arms behind her back with a rope, fastened her to 
the swinging plank, and strapped her on with the 
leather strap. Here he wanted to stop. * No, no, that 
is not yet all, " she said. Sanson then swung the plank 
down, placed the head of the young lady in the dread- 
ful neck-piece, and closed it upon her neck. Then she 
declared she was satisfied. 

When he afterwards told the story, Sanson said, * I 
quite thought she was going to say at last, ' That is not 
all ; make the knife fall. ' n 

Nearly all the English visitors ask to see the knife 
which cut off the head of Louis XVI. This knife was 
sold for old iron, in the same way as all the other guil- 
lotine knives when they are worn out English people 
will not believe it and offer to buy it of M. Sanson. If 
he had cared to trade in them, there would have been as 
many knives of Louis XVL sold as walking-sticks of 

From his anecdotes of Sanson the fellow, who said he 
had formerly been a groom at the Tuileries, wanted to 


proceed to anecdotes of the king. He had heard the 
conferences of the king with the ambassadors, etc. 
I did not trouble him. I thought of his being a Gas- 
con, 1 and an embroiderer, and his political revela- 
tions appeared to be only fancy articles of a superior 

Up to 1826 the Conciergerie had no other entrance 
than a grating opening into the courtyard of the Palais 
de Justice. It was through this that criminals con- 
demned to death came out. In 1826 was made the door- 
way which is to be seen upon the quay between the two 
great round towers These two towers had, upon the 
ground-floor, like the tower of the torture-chamber, a room 
without a window. The two grotesque Gothic arches, 
without any voussoir or equilateral triangle for a base, 
which are still admired here to this day, and which are 
masterpieces of ignorance, were opened in these splendid 
walls by a sort of stone-mason named Peyre, who held 
the office of architect to the Palais de Justice, and who 
mutilated, dishonoured, and disfigured the building as 
may be seen. These two rooms, thus lighted, make two 
fine circular apartments. Their walls are ornamented 
with inlaid Gothic arches of admirable purity, resting 
upon exquisite brackets. These charming triumphs of 
architecture and sculpture were never intended to see 
the light of day, and were made, strange to say, for hor- 
ror and darkness. 

The first of the two rooms the nearest to the men's 
yard had been converted into a dormitory for the war- 
ders. There were in it a dozen beds, arranged like the 
rays of a star, round a stove placed in the centre. Above 
each bed a plank, fixed in the wall through the delicate 
mullions of the architecture, held the personal belong- 

1 The people of Gaacony are proverbially supposed to be hatchet- 
throwers, ~ 7ft. 


ings of the warders, generally represented by a brush, 
a trunk, and an old pair of boots. Over one of the beds, 
however, beside the pair of boots, which was not want- 
ing in any single instance, was a little heap of books. 
I noticed this; it was explained to me. It was the 
library of a warder named Peiset, to whom Lacenaire 
had imparted literary tastes. This man, seeing Lace- 
naire constantly reading and writing, first admired and 
then consulted him. He was not without intelligence ; 
Lacenaire advised him to study. Some of the books 
which were there were those of Lacenaire. Lacenaire 
gave them to him. Peiset had bought a few other old 
books upon the quays ; he took the advice of Lacenaire, 
who said, " Read this, " or " Do not read that. " By de- 
grees the jailer became a thinker, and it was thus that 
an intelligence had been awakened and had expanded in 
this repulsive atmosphere. 

The other room could only be entered by a door which 
bore this inscription : u Entrance reserved for the Gover- 
nor. " M. Lebel opened it for me very politely, and we 
found ourselves in his sitting-room. This apartment 
was, in fact, transformed into the governor's sitting- 
room. It was almost identical with the other, but 
differently furnished. This sitting-room was made up 
in extraordinary fashion. The architecture of Saint- 
Louis, a chandelier which had belonged to Ouvrard, 
hideous wall-paper in the Gothic arches, a mahogany 
writing-desk, some articles of furniture with unbleached 
calico coverings, an old legal portrait without any case 
or frame and nailed askew upon the wall, some en- 
gravings, some heaps of paper, a table looking like a 
counter ; altogether, the room, thus furnished, had the 
characteristics of a palace, a prison-cell, and a shop- 
parlour. It was patibulary, magnificent, ugly, ridi- 
culous, sinister, royal, and vulgar. 

It was into this apartment that the visitors of the 


privileged prisoners were shown. At the time of his 
detention, of which many traces remained at the Con- 
ciergerie, M. Ouvrard used to see his friends here. The 
Prince de Berghes used to see his wife and mother here. 
" What does it matter to me if they do receive their 
visitors here ? * said M. LebeL " They think them- 
selves in a drawing-room, and they are none the less in 
a prison. * The worthy man looked profoundly con- 
vinced that the Duchess and Princess de Berghes must 
have thought they were in a drawing-room. 

It was there also that the chancellor, Duke Pasquier, 
was in the habit of preparing the preliminaries of the 
official inquiries confided to him in respect of the prose- 
cutions before the House of Peers. 

The governor's room communicated with this apart- 
ment It was very mean and ugly looking. The spe- 
cies of den which served as his bedroom was solely 
dependent upon the doors for light and air, that is to 
say, so far as I could see, for I passed rapidly through. 
It was clean, although of a rather mouldy-smelling 
cleanliness, and had all sorts of frames in the corners, 
and old-fashioned knick-knacks, and all those minutiae 
which one sees in the rooms of elderly people. The 
dining-room was larger, and had windows. Two or 
three good-looking young ladies were seated there upon 
straw-bottomed chairs, and were at work under the eye 
of a lady of about fifty years of age. They rose with a 
modest and pleasant look as I passed, and their father, 
M. Lebel, kissed them on the forehead. Nothing 
stranger could be imagined than this Anglican Presby- 
terian's home, surrounded by the infamous interior of a 
prison, and walled round as it were and preserved in all 
its purity amid every vice, every crime, every disgrace, 
and every shame. 

" But, " I said to M. Lebel, " What has become of 
the hall of the chimney-pieces ? Where is it ? * 


He appeared to turn it over in his mind like a person 
who fails to understand. 

" The hall of the chimney-pieces ? Did you say the 
hall of thfe chimney-pieces ? n 

" Yes, " I rejoined, " a great hall which was under the 
salle des pas perdus, l and where there were in the four 
corners four enormous chimney-pieces, constructed in 
the thirteenth century. Why, 1 remember distinctly 
having come to see it some twenty years ago, in com- 
pany with Rossini, Meyerbeer, and David d' Angers. w 

" Ah ! * said M. Lebel, " I know what you mean. 
That is what we call the Kitchens of Saint-Louis. * 

" Well, the Kitchens of Saint-Louis then, if that is 
what you 'call them. But what has become of this hall ? 
Besides the four chimney-pieces, it had some handsome 
pillars which supported the roof. I have not seen it 
even now. Has your architect, M. Peyre, hidden it 
away ? " 

" Oh, no. Only he has made some alterations in it for 

These words, quietly uttered, made me shudder. The 
hall of the chimney-pieces was one of the most remarka- 
ble monuments of the Royal and domestic architecture 
of the Middle Ages. What might not a creature like 
the architect Peyre have done with it? M. Lebel 
continued : 

* We scarcely knew where to put our prisoners during 
the time when they have to undergo their preliminary 
examination. M. Peyre took the Kitchens of Saint- 
Louis and made a magnificent sourici&re* with three 
compartments, one for men, one for women, and one 
for the juveniles. He contrived this in the best manner 

1 The outer hall of a French Court of Justice, to which the public are 
admitted. TK. 

a A room in which prisoners are temporarily detained. TB. 


possible, and he did not destroy the old hall to any 
great extent, I assure you. " 

* Will you take me to it ? * I said to M. Lebel. 
u By all means. " 

We passed through long, wide, low, and narrow cor- 
ridors and passages. Here and there we came across a 
staircase crowded with gendarmes, and we saw pass, 
amid a hubbub of policemen and warders, some poor 
wretch whom the ushers handed to each other, at the 
same time saying to each other in a loud tone of voice 
the word Disponibk. l 

" What does that word convey ? " I said to my guide. 

" It means that he has a man whom the examining 
magistrate has done with, and who is at the disposal of 
the gendarme. " 

" To set him at liberty ? * 

" No, to take him back to prison. " 

At length the last door opened. 

* Here you are, " said the governor, " in the room you 
are looking for. 

I look round. 

I was in darkness. 

I had a wall in front of my eyes. 

My eyeballs, however, gradually became accustomed 
to the darkness, and after a few moments I distinguished 
on my right, in a recess, a lofty and magnificent chim- 
ney-piece in the shape of an inverted funnel, built of 
stone, and resting, by means of an open buttress of the 
most exquisite style, against a pillar which stood in 
face of it. 

"Ah," I said, "here is one of the chimney-pieces. 
But where are the others ? " 

" This is the only one, " replied M. Lebel, a which 
remains intact Of the three others, two are completely 
1 Available, or ready to be disposed of. -- TB. 


destroyed, and the third is mutilated ; it was necessary 
for a souricibre. It is because we had to fill up the in- 
tervals between the pillars with stone-work. We had 
to put up partitions. The architect preserved this 
chimney-piece as a specimen of the architectural style 
of the period." 

a And, " I added, " of the folly of the architects of our 
time ! * Thus there was no hall, but a number of com- 
partments; and out of four chimney-pieces three were 
destroyed. This was effected under Charles X. This 
is what the sons of Saint-Louis made of the souvenirs 
of Saint-Louis. 

" It is true, * continued M. Lebel, u that this sourici&re 
might very well have been placed elsewhere. But then, 
you know, they did not think of that, and they had this 
hall available. However, they arranged it very well. 
It is divided by stone walls in longitudinal compart- 
ments, lighted each by one of the windows of the old 
hall. The first is that of the juveniles. Should you 
like to go in?" 

A turnkey opened a heavy door with a peep-hole bored 
through it, by means of which the interior of the 
sourictire could be watched, and we went in. 

The juveniles' sourici&re was an oblong room, a paral- 
lelogram, provided with two stone benches on the two 
principal sides. There were three boys there. The 
eldest was rather a big boy. He appeared to be about 
seventeen years of age, and was clad in frightful old 
yellowish clothes. 

I spoke to the youngest, who had a rather intelligent, 
although an enervated and degraded, face. 

" What is your age, boy ? " 

" I am twelve, sir. " 

* What have you done to be in here ? * 

" I took some peaches. * 



* Where?" 

* In a garden at MontreuiL * 
" By yourself ? " 

" No, with my friend. * 

* Where is your friend ? " 

He pointed out the other one, who was clad like him- 
self in the prison material, and was a little bigger than 
himself, and said, " There he is. " 

" You got over a wall, then ? " 

u No, sir. The peaches were on the ground in the 
road. " 

u You only stooped down ? " 

" Yes, sir. " 

" And picked them up ? " 

* Yes, sir. * 

At this point M. Lebel leaned towards me, and said, 
" He has already been taught his lesson. " 

It was evident, in fact, that the child was telling a 
lie. There was neither decision nor candour in his 
look. He cast his eyes down obliquely as he looked at 
me, as a sharper examines his victim, and moreover 
with that delighted expression of a child who makes a 
man his dupe. 

a You are not telling the truth, my lad, " I resumed. 

" Yes I am, sir. * 

This " Yes I am, sir, * was said with that kind of 
impudence in which one feels that everything is want- 
ing, even assurance. He added boldly, u And for that 
I have been sentenced to three years' imprisonment 
But, je'n rappelle. " l 

u Have not your relatives come to claim you ? " 

" No, sir. * 

* And your friend, was he sentenced ?" 

i For " fen rappelle," meaning that he hat appealed against the en- 
tence. TK. 


* No, his relatives claimed him. " 

" He is a better boy than you, then ? " 

The boy hung down his head. 

M. Lebel said to me, " He has been sentenced to be 
detained for three years in a House of Correction, to be 
brought up there, acquitted, that is to say, for not 
having acted ' with discretion. ' The misfortune and 
the grief of all the little vagabonds is to be under six- 
teen years of age. They have a thousand ways of trying 
to persuade the authorities that they are sixteen years of 
age, and guilty with discretion. In fact, when they are 
sixteen years and one day old they are punished with a 
few months 1 imprisonment for their pranks. If they 
are a day less than sixteen years old, they have three 
years' detention at La Eoquette. " 

I gave a small sum of money to these poor little 
wretches, who perhaps were only wanting in education. 

All things considered, society is more guilty towards 
them than they are guilty towards society. We may 
ask them, What have you done with our peaches ? Very 
well. But they might reply, what have you done with 
our intelligence ? 

" Thank you, sir, " said the youngster, putting the 
money in his pocket 

* I would have given you twice as much, " I told him, 
" if you had not told a lie. * 

* Sir, " said the boy, a I have been sentenced, but 
je'n rappelle. " 

" It was bad to take peaches, but it was worse to tell 
a lie." 
The child did not appear to understand. 

* Je'n rappelle, * he said. 

We quitted the cell, and as the door was closed, the 
boy followed us with a look, while still repeating, 
" Je'n rappelle. " The two others did not breathe a word. 


The jailer bolted the door while muttering, " Keep quiet 
my little rats. * l This word reminded us that we were 
in a " souricibre. " 2 

The second compartment was set apart for men, and 
was exactly similar to the first I did not go in, but 
contented myself with looking through the peep-hole. 
It was full of prisoners, among whom the turnkey 
pointed out to me a youth with a prepossessing counte- 
nance, tolerably dressed, and wearing a thoughtful air. 
This was an individual named Pichery, the ringleader 
of a gang of thieves who were to be put on their trial in 
a few days' time. 

The third slice cut out of the Kitchens of Saint-Louis 
was the women's jail. It was thrown open to us. I 
saw only seven or eight inmates, all more than forty 
years of age, with the exception of a youngish woman 
who still retained some remains of good looks. This 
poor creature hid herself behind the others. I under- 
stood this bashfulness, and I neither asked nor per- 
mitted any question. All kinds of little articles of 
women's luggage baskets, flat baskets, work-bags, 
pieces of knitting just begun encumbered the stone 
benches. There were also great pieces of brown bread. 
I took up a piece of this bread. It was of the colour of 
road scrapings, smelled very nasty, and stuck to the 
fingers like birdlime. 

" What is that? " I said to M. Lebel. 

" It is the prison bread. * 

'' Why, it is detestable ! " 

* Do you think so ? " 

a Look at it yourself. * 

" It is a contractor who supplies it " 

" And who makes his fortune, does he not ? * 

Equivalent to " my little dears." Tu. 

* In allusion to its other aiguificatiou of a mouse-trap. Tm. 


" M. Chayet, Secretary at the Prefecture, has to ex- 
amine the bread; he considers it very good, so good 
that ho does not have any other on his own table. " 

" M. Chayet, " I said, " is wrong to judge the bread 
eaten by the prisoners by the bread he receives himself. 
If the speculator does send him every day a delicacy, 
that does not prove that he does not send filth to the 
prisoners. " 

" You are right ; I will speak about it. " 

I learned afterwards that the quality of the bread had 
been looked into, and that an improvement had been 

On the whole, there was nothing remarkable in this 
cell, unless it was that the walls were covered all over 
with inscriptions in black marks. Here are the three 
which stood out prominently in larger letters than the 
others : " Corset. * a Je suis codan^e & six mois pour 
vacabonage. n a Amour pour la vie. " l 

The three doors of the compartments opened on the 
same passage, a long dark corridor, at the two extremi- 
ties of which, like two stone tiaras, were the rounded 
forms of the two chimney-pieces which had been pre- 
served, and of which, as I had already said, there was 
only one which was perfect. The second had lost its 
principal ornament, its buttress. Of the others all 
that remained visible was the sites on which they had 
stood in the corners of the juvenile compartment and 
the women's compartment 

It was upon the easternmost of these two latter chim- 
ney-pieces that the curious figure of the demon Mahidis 
was carved. The demon Mahidis was a Persian demon 

1 The first appears to be the name of a prisoner ; the second is an illit- 
erate inscription by some woman, to the effect that she has been sentenced 
to six months' imprisonment as a vagabond ; the third expresses undying 
affection for some person unknown. TB. 


which Saint-Louis brought back from the Crusades. It 
was to be seen upon the chimney-piece with its five 
heads, for he had five heads; and each of these five 
heads had composed one of those songs which are called 
ragas in India, and which are the oldest music known. 
These ragas are still celebrated and dreaded throughout 
Hindustan on account of their magic powers. There is 
no juggler who is bold enough to sing them. One of 
these ragas sung at nuddar makes the night fall in- 
stantly, and to conjure up from the ground an immense 
circle of darkness, which spreads as far as the voice of 
the singer will carry. Another is called the Ihupuck 
raga. Whoever sings it perishes by fire. A tradition 
relates how the Emperor Akbar one day was smitten 
with a desire to hear this raga sung. He sent for a 
famous musician named Naik-Gopaul, and said to him : 
" Sing me the Ihupuck raga. * Thereupon the poor 
tenor, trembling from head to foot, falls upon the em- 
peror's knees. The emperor had his whim, and was 
inflexible. The only concession the tenor could obtain 
was to be allowed to go and see his family for the last 
time. He sets out, returns to the town in which he 
lives, makes his will, embraces his old father and 
mother, says adieu to all that he loves in the world, 
and returns to the Emperor. Six months elapsed. 
Eastern kings have melancholy and tenacious whims. 
" Ah, there you are, musician, " said Shah Akbar, in a 
sad but friendly tone. " Welcome ! You are going to 
sing me the Ihupuck raga. " Naik-Gopaul trembles, 
and implores once more. But the emperor is inexora- 
ble. It was winter-time. The Jumna was frozen over ; 
people were skating upon it Naik-Gopaul has the ice 
broken, and gets into the water up to his neck. He 
begins to sing. At the second verse the water became 
warm, at the second stanza the ice melted, at the third 


stanza the river began to boil Naik-Gopaul was cook- 
ing ; he was covered with blisters. Instead of singing, 
he cried, u Mercy, Sire ! " 

" Go on, " said Akbar, who was no mean lover of music. 

The poor wretch went on singing ; his face was crim- 
son, his eyes started out of his head, but he continued 
to sing, the emperor listening meanwhile with ecstasy. 
At length a few sparks shot out of the hair of the tenor, 
which stood on end. 

" Mercy ! " he cried, for the last time. 

" Sing ! " said the emperor. 

He began the last stanza amid shrieks. Suddenly the 
flames burst forth from his mouth, then from his entire 
body, and the fire consumed him in the midst of the 
water. That is one of the habitual effects of the music 
of this demon Mahidis, who was represented upon the 
demolished chimney-piece. He had a wife named Par- 
butta, who is the author of what the Hindoos call the 
sixth raga. Thirty raginis, a music of a feminine and 
inferior character, were dictated by Boimba. It was to 
these three devils, or gods, that was due the invention 
of the gamut, composed of twenty-one notes, which 
forms the basis of the music of India. 

As we withdrew three gentlemen in black coats, con- 
ducted by a turnkey, passed near us ; they were visitors. 
" Three new members of the Chamber of Deputies, * 
M. Lebel informed me in a whisper. They had whis- 
kers and high cravats, and spoke like Provincial acade- 
micians. They were lavish in expressions of admiration ; 
they were in ecstasies, more particularly at the work 
which had been done in the way of embellishing the 
prison and making it suitable to the requirements of the 
police authorities. One of them maintained that Paris 
was being prodigiously embellished, thanks to the archi- 
tects of taste who were modernizing (sic) the ancient luild- 


ings; and he asserted that the Acad&nie Franchise 
ought to make these Paris embellishments the subject 
of a prize competition in poetry. This set me thinking 
that M. Peyre has done for the Palais de Justice what 
M. Godde has done for Saint-Germain des Prds, and 
M. Debret for Saint-Denis; and while M. Lebel was 
giving some instructions to the warders, I wrote with a 
pencil upon a pillar of the hall of the chimney-pieces 
these verses, which might be sent in for the competition 
if ever the Academic should set up the competition de- 
sire by these gentlemen, and which, I hope, would 
secure the prize: 

" Un sizain vaut une longne ode 

Pour chanter Debret, Peyre, et Godde ; 
L'oison gloussant, I'ane qui brait, 
Fetent Godde, Peyre, et Debret ; 
Et le dindon, digne compere, 
Admire Debret, Godde, et Peyre." * 

As M. Lebel turned round, I had finished. He con- 
ducted me to the outer door again, mid I issued forth. 
As I went away, some one of a group of men in 
blouses behind me, who appeared to be waiting on 
the quay, said, " There is one of them who has been 
discharged. He is a lucky fellow. " 

It appears that I looked like a thief. However, I had 
spent two hours at the Conciergerie, the sitting of the 
Academic must still be going on, and I reflected, with 
much inward satisfaction, that if I had gone to it I 
should not have been " discharged " thus early. 

1 This might be rendered, 

Six lines are worth a lengthy ode 
To sing of Debret, Peyre, and Godde; 
The gosling's hiss, the donkey's bray, 
Acclaim them all, Godde, Peyre, Debret; 
The rurVey, too, a worthy mate, 
Host worship this triumvirate. Tit. 



November 11. 
A/ESTERDAY Chancellor Pasquier comes to the house 

I of Mine, de Boignes, and finds her in great agita- 
tion, holding a letter in her hand. " What is the matter, 
madame ? " " This letter which I have received. Read 
it." The chancellor took the letter; it was signed 
"Mortier," and said, in effect, "Madame, when you read 
this letter my two children and myself will no longer be 

It was Count Mortier, a Peer of France, and formerly 
an ambassador, but where I cannot remember, who 
wrote. M. Pasquier was much concerned. M. Mortier 
was known as a confirmed hypochondriac. Four years 
ago, at Bruges, he ran after his wife with a razor in his 
hand, with the intention of killing her. A month ago 
he made a similar attempt, which led to a separation, by 
the terms of which M. Mortier retained the custody of 
the children, a little boy of seven years of age and a little 
girl of five. His hypochondria was caused, it appears, 
by jealousy, and developed into uncontrollable passion. 

The chancellor sends for his carriage, and does not 
take a chair. " Where does M. Mortier live ? " " In the 
Rue Neuve Saint- Augustin, in the Hdtel Chatham," said 
Mme. de Boignes. 

M. Pasquier arrives at the Hotel Chatham; he finds 
the staircase crowded, a commissary of police, a lock- 
smith with his bunch of keys, the door barricaded. The 
alarm had been given. They were going to break open 
the door. 

" I forbid you," said the chancellor. " You would 
exasperate him, and if the mischief were not yet done 
he would do it" 


For some time, however, M. Mortier had not an- 
swered. There was nothing but a profound silence be- 
hind the door, a terrible silence, for it seemed that if 
the children were still living they should be crying. 
" It seemed," said the chancellor, when he told me this 
to-day, " as if it was the door of a tomb." 

The chancellor called out his name : " Count Mortier, 
it is I, M. Pasquier, the chancellor, your colleague. You 
know my voice, do you not ? " 

To this a voice replied, " Yes." 

It was the voice of M. Mortier. 

The on-lookers breathed again. 

" Well," continued M. Pasquier, " you know me ; open 
the door." 

"No," replied the same voice. Then it obstinately 
refused to speak again. All was silent once more. 

This happened several times. He replied, the dialogue 
continued, he refused to open, then he remained silent. 
Those outside trembled for fear that in these brief in- 
tervals of silence he might do the dreadful deed. 

In the mean time the prefect of police had arrived. 

"It is I, your colleague, Delessert, and your old 
friend." (They were school-fellows, I think.) 

This parleying lasts for more than an hour. At length 
he consents to open the door provided they give him 
their word they will not enter. The word is given ; 
he half opens the door ; they go in. 

He was in the anteroom, with an open razor in his 
hand; behind him was the inner door of his rooms, 
locked, and with the key removed. He appeared 

" If any one approaches me," he said, " there will be an 
end of him and me. I will remain alone with Delessert 
and speak to him ; I consent to that." 

A risky conversation this, with a furious man armed 


with a razor. M. Delessert, who behaved bravely, asked 
every one else to withdraw, remained alone with M. 
Mortier, and after a refusal, which lasted for a space of 
twenty minutes, persuaded him to put down the razor. 

Once disarmed, he was secured. 

But were the children dead or living ? It was terrible 
to reflect upon. To all questions on the subject he 
replied, " It is nothing to do with you." 

The inner door is broken open, and what is found 
at the farther end of the rooms ? The two children, 
crouching under the furniture.' 

This is what had happened. 

In the morning M. Mortier said to his children, " I am 
very unhappy. You love me, and I love you. I am 
going to die. Will you die with me ? " 

The little boy said, resolutely, " No, papa." 

As for the little girl, she hesitated. In order to per- 
suade her the father passed the back of the razor gently 
around her neck, and said to her, "There, my dear, it 
will not hurt you any more than that." 

"Well, then, papa," said the child, "I do not mind 

The father goes out, probably to fetch a second razor. 
Directly he goes out, the little boy rushes to the key, 
lays hold of it, shuts the door, and locks it twice on 
the inside. 

Then he takes his sister to the furthermost end of the 
rooms and gets under the furniture with her. 

The doctors declared that Count Mortier was a melan- 
choly and dangerous madman. He was taken to a 

He had a mania, in fact, for razors. When he was 
seized he was searched; besides that which he had in 
his hand, one was found in each of his pockets. 

On the same day the news arrived in Paris that my 


colleague, Count Bresson, had cut his throat at Naples, 
where he had recently been appointed Ambassador. 

This was a grief to us all, and a great surprise. From 
a mere worldly point of view, Count Bresson wanted 
nothing. He was a Peer of France, an ambassador, a 
Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour. His son had 
lately been created a Duke in Spain. As an ambassador 
he had a salary of two hundred thousand francs a year. 
He was an earnest, kindly, gentle, intelligent, sensible man, 
very rational in everything, of high stature, with broad 
shoulders, a good square face, and at fifty-five years of age 
looked only forty ; he had wealth, greatness, dignity, in- 
telligence, health, and was fortunate in private as in 
public life. He killed himself. 

Nourrit also went to Naples and killed himself. 

Is it the climate ? Is it the marvellous sky ? 

Spleen is engendered just as much under a blue sky as 
under a gloomy sky, more so, perhaps. 

As the life of even the most prosperous man is always 
in reality more sad than gay, a gloomy sky is in har- 
mony with ourselves. A brilliant and joyous sky mocks 
us. Nature in its sad aspects resembles us and consoles us ; 
Nature, when radiant, impassive, serene, magnificent, trans- 
plendent, young while we grow old, smiling when we are 
sighing, superb, inaccessible, eternal, contented, calm in 
its joyousness, has in it something oppressive. 

By dint of contemplating the sky, ruthless, unre- 
lenting, indifferent, and sublime, one takes a razor and 
makes an end of it. 

December 1. 

In the new hall for private meetings at the Academic 
the statue of Racine has been placed in a corner, and the 
statue of Corneille in the centre, behind the president's 


Formerly it was Racine who was in the centre and 
Corneille in the corner. This is a step in the right 
direction. Another demolition, another reconstruction, 
and it will be Molifere who will be put in the place of 


December 18. 
ECEPTION at M. Guizot's. 

M. Guizot's aged mother is eighty-four or eighty- 
five years old. She attends the evening gatherings, seat- 
ing herself in the corner by the fireplace, and wearing a 
chemisette and a black cap amid all the laces and the 
stars and ribbons. In this room of velvet and gold one 
would think she must be an apparition from the Cevennes. 
M. Guizot said to her one day, "Do you remember, 
mother, the time when your grandmother spoke to us 
of the dragoons who pursued her in the mountains, and 
of the bullets which pierced her clothes?" 

At the period of M. Guizot's birth '89 had not yet re- 
stored to Protestants their civil rights. They were out- 
lawed. M. Guizot was thus legally a bastard when he 
was born. He was inscribed in no register when he 
came into the world, and would be unable to prove his 
French nationality. 

M. Guizot came up during the evening to a group of 
which I happened to make one, and said to me : 

M. GUIZOT. Well, we are going to begin the struggles 
once more. 

I. You do not fear anything in our Chamber ? 

M. GUIZOT. No. The Opposition intimates to me that 
it will not harass me much, excepting M. de Boissy, who 
has not informed me beforehand of what he intends to 


do at all M. de Montalembert will speak about Cracow. 
But we shall have a paragraph in the Speech from the 
Throne, which I hope will leave nothing to be said. 

I. And you will be quite right. As for myself, my 
opinion is this ; if the Chamber had been sitting at the 
time of the Cracow affair, I should have spoken, and I 
should have said, I ask permission to congratulate France. 
To get rid of Cracow is to restore to us the Rhine. The 
treaties of 1815 no longer exist. Those treaties were 
made against us, they are violated against us, they will 
be violated again against us ; the final violation will be 
for us to make. I congratulate France, and I glorify 

VISCOUNT DE FLAVIGNY. That may be. But is it not 
a misfortune that some governments 

M. DE LAGREN^E. Monarchical governments ! 

M. DE FLAVIGNY. set the example of the infraction 
of treaties and the violation of international law ! 

L It is nothing new. M. Guizot, who is a great his- 
torian, knows better than we do that nothing is more fre- 
quent in the history of Europe. All governments have 
from time to time violated every law, beginning with the 
law of nations. Cannon were called the ultima ratio. 
Who has might has right; that was the maxim. The 
little were devoured by the great ; the fowls eaten by the 
foxes ; the foxes eaten by the wolves ; the wolves eaten 
by the lions, that was the practice. That which is new 
is the respect for law. It is the glory of the civilization 
of the nineteenth century to wish the weak to be respected 
by the strong, and to rank eternal morality higher than 
pikes and muskets. The three Powers which have de- 
stroyed Cracow have committed a blunder, not because 
they have violated the tradition of past centuries, but 
because they have outraged the spirit of the time. 

M. GUIZOT. Just so. 


M. DE FLAVIGNY. But the history of the popes, 

I. The history of the popes is better than the history 
of kings, but it has also its dark spots. Popes them- 
selves have also been false to their word and violated 
their plighted faith. 

M. GUIZOT (laughing). Oh, do not let us say any 
harm of the Papacy just now. There is a pope whom I 
esteem, and for whom I have a warm regard. 

I. Granted. But the preceding one, Gregory XVI. ! 
As for Pius IX., I am also among those who live in 

M. GUIZOT. I esteem him because he appreciates and 
invites advice, because he asks for one's opinion, although 
judging rationally for himself afterwards ; because he 
wishes to do what is right, seeks it, and often discovers 
it. I esteem him because he concedes gracefully, and 
with a good will, that which is just. I esteem him be- 
cause he knows also how to say, " I will never do that." 
He has gentleness and firmness. 

I. If Pius IX. likes he may become the most power- 
ful sovereign in Europe. No one realizes what a pope 
might become. A pope who would follow the drift of 
his times might govern and might move the world. He 
has so enormous a lever, faith, the conscience, the 
mind! Every soul is a mine ready to be fired by the 
spark which would flash from such a pope. What a con- 
flagration, if it pleased him ! What a coruscation, if he 
so willed it! 


January 6. 

THE Marquis of Normanby, the English ambassa- 
dor, said to me yesterday, " When the secret his- 
tory of the Cracow affair is known, it will be known that 
Eussia said to Austria, ' Take Cracow, will you ? ' ' No.' 
'Well, then, I will take it.' Austria yielded." " Then," 
I said, " her audacity is obedience, her violence coward- 
ice, her usurpation an abdication." Lord Normanby is a 
man of about fifty years of age, tall, fair, with a pro- 
nounced English look, elegant, graceful, high-bred, good- 
natured, and dandyish. He has been Viceroy of Ireland 
and Home Secretary in England. He is the author of 
two or three novels of high life. He wears a blue ribbon 
over his white tie, and a diamond star upon his dress- 
coat. He speaks French with diificulty, but with humour. 

Lord Normanby spoke to me of O'Connell, who, in 
1847, is beginning to break up. His seventy-three years 
weigh him down, notwithstanding his tall figure and wide 
shoulders. This man, of such violent and bitter elo- 
quence, is in a drawing-room obsequious, full of compli- 
ments, modest to humility, mild to affectation. Lord 
Normanby said to me, " O'Connell is affected." 

O'Connell has in County Kerry an old ancestral hall, 
where he goes to shoot for two months in the year, re- 
ceiving guests and entertaining them like an old county 
gentleman, 1 keeping up, Lord Normanby also told me, a 
savage hospitality. 

1 In the original, " l 


His eloquence, adapted to the masses and to Ireland, 
had little influence upon the Commons of England. How- 
ever, he had during his life two or three great successes 
in Parliament. But the platform suited bi*n better than 
the tribune. 


January 14. 

"X^ESTERDAY, Thursday, I dined at the house of 
I M. de Salvandy, Minister of Public Instruction. 
There were present Lord Normanby, British ambassador ; 
the Duke of Caraman, a young nobleman, intelligent and 
artless, much occupied in philosophic studies ; Dupin, the 
elder, with his rough bourgeois air ; M. de Itemusat, the 
eight-days old Academician, a keen and well-balanced 
mind ; M. Gay-Lussac, the chemist, whom fame has 
made a Peer of France, and to whom nature has given 
the face of a worthy peasant ; the other chemist, M. Du- 
mas, a man of talent, his hair rather too elaborately 
curled, and displaying very prominently the ribbon of a 
Commander of the Legion of Honour ; Sainte-Beuve, bald 
and little ; Alfred de Musset, with his youthful hair, his 
fair beard, his equivocal opinions, and his intellectual 
countenance ; M. Ponsard, a man of thirty-two years of 
age, with strange-looking features, large dull eyes, rather 
narrow forehead, the whole in a frame-work of black 
beard and black hair, a hero of the shop-girls, a great 
poet to the bourgeois; M. Michel Chevalier, with his close- 
cropped head, his receding forehead, his bird-like profile, 
and his spare figure ; Alfred de Vigny, another fair man 
with a bird-like profile,but with long hair ; Viennet, with 
his grimace ; Scribe, with his peaceful air, rather anxious 

VOL. XXIV. 10 


about a piece of his which was being played the same 
evening at the Gymnase, and which failed ; Dupaty, sad 
after his fall of the 7th at the sitting of the Academic ; 
Montalembert, with his long hair and English appear- 
ance, mild and disdainful ; Philippe de S^gur, a light and 
lively talker, with an aquline nose, deep-sunk eyes, grey 
hair, combed in imitation of the Emperor ; Generals Fab- 
vier and Rapatel, in full uniform, Kapatel with his 
round, homely face, Fabvier with his flat-nosed lion's 
face ; Mignet, smiling and cold ; Gustave de Beaumont, 
with dark, firm, and energetic face ; Hal^vy, always 
timid ; the astronomer Leverrier, rather red-faced ; Vitet, 
with his tall figure and his smile, which is amiable, al- 
though it lays bare his teeth ; M. Victor Leclerc, the can- 
didate for the Academic, who had that morning been 
rejected ; Ingres, the table rising to his chin, so that his 
white tie and his commander's ribbon seemed to come 
from under the table-cloth ; Pradier, with his long hair, 
and his air of a man of forty at sixty years of age; 
Auber, with his head on one side, his polite manners, 
and his two crosses at his button-hole. 

I sat beside Lord Normanby, who is a very amiable 
man, although the ambassador of ill-humour ; I called his 
attention to the end of the table thus composed : Ingres, 
Pradier, Auber, painting, sculpture, and music. 

Mme. de Salvandy had Lord Normanby on her right, 
and M. Gay-Lussac on her left ; M. de Salvandy had on 
his right M. Dupin, and on his left M. de IMmusat. 

February 5. 

Yesterday I was at the Tuileries. There was a repre- 
sentation there. After the opera every one went into the 
side-rooms in which the buffet was placed and began to 

M. Guizot had made during the day in the Chamber of 


Deputies a very noble, very fine, and very spirited speech 
about our budding dispute with England. This speech 
was much spoken of. Some approved, others condemned. 
Baron de Billing passed close to me with a lady whom I 
could not see on his arm. 

" Good evening," he said. " What do you think of the 
speech ? " I replied, " I am pleased with it. I like to see 
that we are at length holding up our heads again in this 
country. It is said that this boldness is imprudent, but 
I do not think so. The best way not to have a war is to 
show that one does not fear it. See how England gave 
in to the United States two years ago ; she will give in 
in the same way to France. Let us be firm, others will 
be gentle ; if we are gentle, others will be insolent." 

At this moment the lady to whom he was giving his 
arm turned towards me, and I recognized the wife of the 
English ambassador. She looked very displeased. She 
said, " Oh, monsieur ! " 

I replied, " Ah, madame !" 

And the war ended there. God send that that may be 
the only interchange of words between the Queen of Eng- 
land and the King of France ! 

SATURDAY, February 20. 

Opening of the TWfttre-Historique. I came out from 
it at half -past three in the morning. 

March 21. 

Mile. Mars was the only person represented in the 
statuary of the porch of the Th^fttre-Historique. 

Mme. d'A , hearing this, said, " This places her in 

the list of the dead ; she has not long to live." 

Mile. Mars died on the 20th of March, a month to a 
day after the opening of the ThdWre-Historique. She 
was sixty-nine years of age, two years older than Mile. 


Georges. Mile. Mars was fifty-two years old when she 
first performed her original part of Dona Sol, a character 
supposed to be seventeen. 

She leaves a son in the banking-house of Edward. No 
letters announcing the decease, owing to the difficulty of 
putting, " Mademoiselle Mars is dead. Her son has the 
honour to inform you of the fact." 


March 26. 

I HAVE been at the burial of Mile. Mars. I arrived 
at twelve o'clock. The hearse was already at the 
Madeleine. There was an immense crowd, and the most 
brilliant sun imaginable. It was the day of the flower- 
market in the square outside the church. I penetrated 
with considerable difficulty as far as the steps, but there it 
was impossible to go any farther; the only door was 
crowded : no one could get in. I saw in the dark interior of 
the church, through the dazzling light of midday, the 
ruddy stars of the wax tapers stuck round a tall catafalque. 
The paintings on the ceiling formed a mystic background. 

I heard the funeral chant, the sound of which reached 
as far as where I stood, and all round me the remarks 
and shouts of the crowd. Nothing is so sad as a burial ; 
one sees only people who are laughing. Every one gaily 
accosts his neighbour, and talks of his concerns. 

The church and the front gate are hung with black 
drapery, with an escutcheon of silver lace containing the 
letter M. I approached the hearse, which was of black 
velvet with silver-lace ornamentation, with the same 
letter M. A few tufts of black feathers had been 
thrown upon the place intended for the coffin. 


The people of Paris are like the people of Athens,- 
frivolous but intelligent There were men in blouses 
there, with their sleeves tucked up, who said some true 
and forcible things upon the stage, upon art, upon the 
poets. They sought and distinguished in the crowd 
men whose names are famous. These people must have 
glory. When there is no Marengo or Austerlitz, they 
love and must have their Dumas and their Lamartines. 
These are like a light towards which all eyes are eagerly 

I remained under the peristyle, sheltered from the sun 
by a column. One or two poets came and joined me and 
stood round me, Joseph Autran, Adolphe Dumas, Au- 
guste Maquet. Alexandre Dumas came over to us with 
his son. The crowd recognized him by his thick head of 
hair, and called out his name. 

Towards one o'clock the body came out of the church, 
together with all the people. Eemarks broke forth from 
among those outside : 

"Ah, there is Boufife !" 

" But where is Arnal ? " 

" Here he is." 

" Hulloa, those men in black are the sorietaires of the 

" The Theatre-Francis has come to its own buriaL" 

" Look at Freddric-Leinaitre ; he is giving his arm to 
Clarisse Miroy." 

" Yes ; and Rachel, over there, gives her arm to Mme. 

" There are some ladies, Mme. Volnys, Mme. Guyon, 
Rose Chdri." 

" This one is D^jazet ; she is no longer young ; this 
ought to make her reflect/' etc. 

The hearse began to move off, and we all followed on 
foot. In our rear came some ten mourning carriages and 


a few open carriages with some actresses inside them. 
There were quite ten thousand persons on foot. They 
formed a dark wave, which appeared to push forward the 
hearse, jolting its immense black plumes. 

On both sides of the boulevard there was another mob, 
forming a hedge. Women in red bonnets sat upon a kind 
of step formed by the pavements, smiling ; the balconies 
were crowded with people. Towards the Porte Saint- 
Martin I left the procession and went away musing. 


July 6. 

MDE MONTPENSIER gave a ffo this evening 
in the Pare des Minimes, in the Forest of 

It was splendid and delightful. The f$te cost the 
prince two hundred thousand francs. In the forest had 
been erected a multitude of tents, borrowed from the 
government repository and the French Museum of Arms, 
some of which were historical. This alone cost ten 
thousand francs. There were the tent of the Emperor of 
Morocco, taken at the battle of Isly, and exhibited three 
years previously at the Tuileries upon a wooden platform 
constructed inside the big fountain ; the tent of Abd-el- 
Kader, taken with the Smala, 1 very handsome, with red 
and yellow arabesques embroidered in satin ; another tent 
of the Bey of Constantine, of a wonderfully elegant shape ; 
and, finally, the tent given to Napoleon by the Sultan 

1 An awemblage of tents belonging to an Arab chief. TR. 


The latter eclipsed all the others. From the outside 
it appeared like an ordinary tent, remarkable only for 
having, in the canvas, little windows, of which the 
frames were of rope, three windows on each side. The 
inside was superb. The visitor found himself inside a 
great chest of gold brocade; upon this brocade were 
flowers and a thousand fancy devices. On looking closely 
into the cords of the windows, one discovered that they 
were of the most magnificent gold and silver lace ; each 
window had its awning of gold brocade. The inner lining 
of the tent was of silk, with large red-and-blue stripes. 
If I had been Napoleon I should have liked to place my 
iron bed in this tent of gold and flowers, and to sleep in 
it on the eve of Wagram, Jena, and Friedland. 

These splendid tents were disfigured by fearful ma- 
hogany furniture rather sparingly placed in them. 

M. de Montpensier received his guests with much 
cheerfulness and grace. 

Dancing took place in an immense marquee, where the 
princesses remained. They were all there, with the 
exception of the Duchess of Orleans. The Duke of Au- 
male came back from Brussels on purpose to take part in 

Queen Maria Christina was there with her daughter, 
Madame de Montpensier. The Reyna gobemadora has 
some remains of beauty, but she is too stout, and her 
hair is quite grey. 

The tables were laid out under some other tents ; there 
were ample refreshments, and buffets everywhere. The 
guests, while numbering more than four thousand, were 
neither crowded nor few and far between. Nowhere was 
there a crush. There were not enough ladies. 

The f&e had a splendid military character. Two 
enormous cannon of the time of Louis XIV. formed the 
pillars of the entrance. The artillery soldiers of Vin- 


cennes had constructed here and there columns of pikes, 
with pistols for chapters. 

The principal avenue of the park was illuminated 
with coloured glass lamps ; one might imagine that the 
emerald and ruby necklaces of the wood-nymphs were to 
be seen among the trees. Sap-matches burned in the 
hedges, and cast their glimmering over the forest. 
There were three tall poplar- trees illuminated against 
the dark sky in a fantastic manner which created much 
surprise. The branches and leaves were wafted in the 
wind amid a brilliant scenic display of lights. 

Along each side of the great avenue was a row of 
Gothic panoplies from the Artillery Museum, some 
leaning against the oaks and the lime-trees, others erect 
and with the visor shut, seated upon dummy steeds, with 
caparisons and coats-of-arms, with trappings and dazzling 
chamfrons. These steel statues, masked and motionless 
in the midst of the rejoicings, and covered with flashes 
and streams of light, had something dazzling and sinister 
in their appearance. Quadrilles were danced to vocal 
music. Nothing more charming could be conceived than 
these youthful voices singing melodies among the trees 
in soft, deep tones ; one might have fancied the guests to 
be enchanted knights tarrying forever in this wood to 
listen to the song of fairies. 

Everywhere in the trees were suspended coloured lan- 
terns, presenting the appearance of luminous oranges. 
Nothing stranger could be imagined than this illumi- 
nated fruit appearing suddenly upon the branches. 

From time to time trumpet-blasts drowned in tri- 
umphant tones the buzz of the festivities. 

At the end of the avenue the artillerymen had sus- 
pended a great star of the Legion of Honour constructed 
of ramrods. They had arranged in the hedges, in the 
form of benches and chairs, mounds of bullets, Paixhan 


mortars, and howitzers. Two enormous siege-pieces 
guarded the cross of honour. Beneath it were busts of 
the king and queen. 

Amid all this moved immense throngs of people, 
among whom I saw Auber, Alfred de Vigny, Alexandre 
Dumas, with his son, Taylor, Th^ophile Gautier, Thiers, 
Guizot, Eothschild, Count Daru, President Franck-Carr^, 
Generals Gourgaud, Lagrange, Saint- Yon, the Duke of 
Fdzensac, Hubert, Keeper of the Seals, the Prince and 
Princess of Craon, Lord Normanby, Narvaez, Duke of 
Valence, and a host of peers and ambassadors, etc. The 
dust was terrible. 

Two Arabs in white bernouses were there, the Cadi 
of Constantine and Bou-Maza. Bou-Maza has fine eyes, 
but an ugly look ; a well-shaped mouth, but a dreadful 
smile: it is treacherous and ferocious; there is in -this 
man something of the fox and the tiger. I thought, how- 
ever, that he had a tolerably fine expression in his face at 
a moment when, thinking there was no one near him in 
the forest, he went up to the tent of Abd-el-Kader and 
stood looking at it. He appeared to be saying to it, 
" What are you doing here ? " 

Bou-Maza is young ; he appears about twenty-five years 
of age. 

Towards one o'clock in the morning some fireworks 
were let off, and the forest was illuminated with Bengal 
lights. Then supper was served at the table of the prin- 
cesses ; all the ladies sat down to supper, the gentlemen 
remaining standing. Afterwards dancing was resumed. 

I regret not having been able to remain to the end. 
I should have liked to see appear athwart the dark 
branches, amid this festivity about to be extinguished, 
some of those waning lights, those expiring illuminations, 
those wearied dancers, those women covered with flowers, 
diamonds, and dust, those pale faces, those drooping eye- 


lids, those rumpled dresses, that gleam of daylight, so 
pale and dismal. 

However, I think, I know not why, that this fSte will 
be remembered ; it has left a certain uneasy feeling in 
my mind. For a fortnight previously it had been talked 
about, and had formed an important subject of conversa- 
tion to the people of Paris. Yesterday, from the Tuileries, 
to the Barrifere du TrOne, a triple hedge of on-lookers 
lined the quays, the streets, and the Faubourg Saint- 
Antoine as the carriages of the guests passed by. At 
frequent intervals this crowd hurled at the gilded and 
bedizened passengers in their carriages shouts of disgust 
and hate. It was like a mist of hatred amid this 

Every one on his return related what had befallen him. 
Louis Boulanger and Achard had been hooted; the 
carriage of Tony Johannot had been spat into ; mud and 
dirt had been thrown into the open carriage of General 
Narvaez. Th^ophile Gautier, so calm and impassive, so 
Turk-like in his resignation, was rendered quite thought- 
ful and gloomy by the occurrence. 

It would not seem, however, that this grand display 
had anything impolitic in it, or that it should have 
proved unpopular. On the contrary, the Duke of Mont- 
pensier, in spending two hundred thousand francs, must 
have caused the expenditure of a million. That makes, 
in this time of distress, a sum of twelve hundred thou- 
sand francs put in circulation for the benefit of the peo- 
ple; they ought to be gratified. Well, it is not so. 
Luxury is necessary to great States and to great civili- 
zations, but there are times when the people must not 
see it. 

But what is luxury which is not seen ? This is a prob- 
lem. Magnificence in the background, profusion in ob- 
scurity, a display which does not show itself, a splendour 


which dazzles no one's eyes, is this possible ? This must 
be taken into consideration, however. When the people 
have luxury paraded before them in days of dearth and 
distress, their mind, which is that of a child, jumps to a 
number of conclusions at once ; they do not say to them- 
selves that this luxury enables them to get a living, that 
this luxury is useful to them, that this luxury is neces- 
sary to them. They say to themselves that they are 
suffering, and that these people rejoice; they ask why 
all these things are not theirs; they examine these 
things, not at the light of their poverty, which requires 
work, and consequently rich people, but by the light of 
their envy. Do not suppose that they will conclude 
from that: Well, this will give us so many weeks' 
wages and so many good days' employment No ; they, 
too, want not the work, not the wages, but leisure, enjoy- 
ment, carriages, horses, lackeys, duchesses! It is not 
bread they require, but luxury. They stretch out their 
trembling hands towards these shining realities, which 
would vanish into thin air if they were to grasp them. 
The day on which the distress of the many seizes upon 
the riches of the few, darkness reigns ; there is nothing 
left, nothing for anybody. This is full of perils. When 
the crowd looks with these eyes upon the rich, it is not 
ideas which occupy every mind, it is events. 

That which specially irritates the people is the luxury 
of princes and young men ; it is, in fact, only too evident 
that the first have not experienced the necessity, and that 
the others have not had the time, to earn it. This seems 
unjust, and exasperates them ; they do not reflect that 
the inequalities of this life prove the equality of the 

Equilibrium, equity, these are the two aspects of the 
law of God. He shows us the first aspect in the world of 
matter and of the body ; he will show us the second in 
the world of souls. 




ON the evening of the day when the judicial com- 
mittee of Peers determined to prosecute M. Teste, 
chance willed it that the chancellor had to go to Neuilly 
with the Bureau of the Chamber to present to the king a 
bill which had been passed. 

The chancellor and the Peers of the Bureau (among 
whom was Count Dam) found the king in a furious state 
of mind. He had been informed of the prosecution of 
M. Teste. Immediately he caught sight of them he 
advanced towards them with rapid strides. 

"What! Chancellor," he said, "was not one of my 
former ministers enough for you? Must you have a 
second? You have taken Teste now. So that after I 
have spent seventeen years in France in setting up 
authority once more, in one day, in one hour, you have 
allowed it to be cast down again. You destroy the 
whole work of my reign. You debase authority, power, 
the government. And you do that, you, the chan- 
cellor of the House of Peers ! " et cetera. 

The squall was a violent one. The chancellor was 
very firm. He resolutely refused to give in to the king. 
He said that, doubtless, policy was to be considered, but 
that it was necessary also to listen to justice ; that the 
Chamber of Peers also had its independence as a legisla- 
tive power, and its sovereignty as a judicial power ; that 
this independence and sovereignty must be respected, 
and if need be, would make themselves respected ; that, 
moreover, in the present state of opinion, it would have 
been a very serious matter to refuse satisfaction to it ; 
that it would be doing an injury to the country and to 


the king not to do what this opinion demanded, and 
what justice required ; that there were times when it was 
more prudent to advance than to retreat; and that finally 
what had been done was done. " And well done," added 
Daru. " We shall see," said the king. 

And from anger he relapsed into uneasiness. 

July 8. 

Half-past twelve. The Court enters. A crowd in the 
galleries. No one in the reserved galleries except Colonel 
Poizat, governor of the Palace. In the diplomatic gal- 
leries two persons only, Lord Normanby, the English 
ambassador, and Count de Loevenhcelm, the Swedish 

The accused are brought in. Three tables, with a green 
baize covering, have been placed facing the Court; to 
each of these tables there is a chair, and at the back is a 
bench for the counsel. President Teste sits down at the 
middle table, General Cubiferes at the right-hand table, 
Parmentier at the left-hand table. All three are dressed 
in black. 

Parmentier entered some time after the two Peers. 
Teste, who is a Commander of the Legion of Honour, has 
the rosette of the decoration in his button-hole ; Cubi&res, 
who is a Grand Officer, the plain ribbon. Before sitting 
down, the general converses with his counsel, then turns 
over, with a very busy air, the volume of documents re- 
lating to the case. He wears his ordinary look. Teste 
is pale and calm. He rubs his hands like a man who is 
pleased. Parmentier is stout, bald, has white hair, a red 
face, a hooked nose, a mouth like a sabre-cut, thin lips ; 
the appearance of a rascal. He wears a white tie, as does 
also President Teste. The general wears a black cravat 
The three defendants do not look at each other. Par- 
mentier casts his eyes down, and affects to be playing 


with the gold chain of his watch, which he displays with 
the ostentation of a country bumpkin against his black 
waistcoat. A young man with a thin black moustache, 
who is said to be his son, is seated on his left. 

Being questioned as to his position in life, Teste rises 
and says, " I thought it would not be seemly to bring to 
this bar the honours which I have had conferred upon 
me." (Visible impression on the Court.) " I placed them 
yesterday in the hands of the king/* (This makes a 
manifestly favourable impression.) 

The indictment is read. It sets forth the following 
facts : 

Parmentier, Director of the Mines of Gouhenans, alleges 
that he remitted to General Cubiferes ninety-four thou- 
sand francs for the purpose of obtaining from M, Teste, 
Minister of Public Works, a grant of a salt-mine. M. 
Teste emphatically denies having received this sum. 
Parmentier is quite ready to believe that it was inter- 
cepted, and that he was thus defrauded of it either by M. 
Cubi&res or another shareholder in the mines, M. Pellapra, 
who, it appears, acted as a go-between from the general 
to M. Teste. Parmentier is accused of corruption ; Cubi- 
feres and Pellapra of corruption and fraud ; Teste of " hav- 
ing received gifts and presents to perform an act of his 
duty not subject to payment." 

Pellapra has fled. Cubiferes, Teste, and Parmentier 

While the indictment is being read Cubi&res hides his 
face and forehead in his left hand, and follows the read- 
ing of the volume which has been circulated. Teste also 
follows it, and annotates his copy with a steel pen. He 
has put on his eye-glasses. From time to time he takes 
snuff out of a great boxwood snuffbox, and converses 
with his counsel, M. Paillet Parinentier appears very 


July 10. 

This is what I can make out of it after the two first 

Jk. have spoken to General Cubferes four or five times 
in my life, and to President Teste once only, and yet, in 
this affair, I am as much interested in their fate as though 
they were friends of mine of twenty years' standing. 
Why ? I will say at once. It is because I believe them 
to be innocent. 

I " believe " is not strong enough ; I see them to be 
innocent. This view may, perhaps, be modified, for this 
affair changes like the waves, and alters its aspect from 
one moment to another; but at the present time, after 
much perplexity, after many transitions, after many pain- 
ful intervals, in which I have more than once trembled 
and shuddered in my conscience, I am convinced that 
General Cubiferes is innocent of the act of fraud, that 
President Teste is innocent of the act of corruption. 

What is this affair, then? To my mind, it resumes 
itself in two words, commission and black-mail ; com- 
mission deducted by Pellapra, black-mail extorted by Par- 
meutier. A commission, tainted with fraud and swindling, 
was the cause of the first act alleged in the indictment ; 
black-mail was the cause of the scandal. Hence the 
whole case. 

I have no leaning towards guilt which is not invinci- 
bly proved to me. My inclination is to believe in inno- 
cence. As long as there remains in the probabilities of 
a case a possible refuge for the innocence of the accused, 
all my theories, I will not say incline, but precipitate 
themselves towards it. 

SUNDAY, July 11. 

An adjournment takes place over to-day. The second 
and third hearing were devoted to the examination of the 


At the opening of Friday's sitting were read communica- 
tions which had been unexpectedly made by Messrs. Lon 
de Malleville and Marrast, and which appear to throw a 
strong light upon this trial. The defendants entered 
the Court pale and dejected, Parinentier, however, with 
more assurance than the others. M. Teste listened to 
the reading of the new documents, while leaning his el- 
bow upon the table and half hiding his face in his hand ; 
General Cubieres, with his eyes cast downward ; Pannen- 
tier with perceptible embarrassment. 

The examination began with the general. 

M. Cubiferes has a doll-like face, an undecided look, a 
hesitating manner of speaking, red cheeks ; I believe him 
to be innocent of fraud ; however, I am not deeply im- 
pressed with him. During the examination he stood up, 
and gently beat a tattoo upon the table with the tip of a 
wooden paper-knife with a look of profound eas. The 
procurator-general, M. Delangle, a rather commonplace 
lawyer, treated him once or twice with insolence ; Cubi- 
ts, a Waterloo man, did not venture to say a word in 
return to make his ears tingle. I felt for him. In the 
opinion of the Court he is already convicted. 

The first part of the examination was badly conducted. 
There was but one expression of opinion at the refresh- 
ment-bar. The chancellor is a remarkable veteran, out 
of the common, but then, he is eighty- two years of age ; 
at eighty-two years of age one cannot face either a woman 
or a crowd. 

Parmentier, interrogated by the general, spoke with 
ease and a sort of vulgar glibness which was sometimes 
witty, at others shrewd, skilful throughout, never elo- 
quent He is a man who, to tell the truth, is a scoundrel. 
He is not aware of it himself. This shameless creature 
has a twist in his mind, and exposes his nakedness just 
as Venus would do. A toad who fancies he is beautiful 
is a repulsive spectacle. He was hissed. At first he 


either did not hear, or did not understand ; however, he 
ended by understanding ; then the perspiration stood in 
beads upon his face. Every now and then, amid the marks 
of disgust of the assemblage, he nervously wiped the 
streaming surface of his bald head, looked about him with 
a certain air of entreaty and bewilderment, feeling that 
he was lost, and trying to recover himself. Yet he con- 
tinued to speak, and to expose his mental defects, while 
low tones of indignation drowned his utterances, and his 
anguish increased. At this moment I felt pity for the 
wretched manX 

M. Teste, who was examined yesterday, spoke like an 
innocent man ; frequently he was exceedingly eloquent 
He was not an advocate ; he was a real man, who suffered, 
who tore out his very vitals and exposed them to view 
before his judges, saying, "See there!" He profoundly 
impressed me. While he spoke, a light broke in upon 
me that this whole affair might be explained by a fraud 
committed by Pellapra. 

Teste is sixty-seven years of age ; he has a southern 
accent, a large and expressive mouth, a tall forehead, 
giving him a look of intelligence, the eyes deep set and at 
times sparkling ; his whole bodily activity overwhelmed 
and crushed, but he is energetic withal. He moved about, 
started, shrugged his shoulders, smiled bitterly, took snuff, 
turned over his papers, annotated them rapidly, held in 
check the procurator-general or the chancellor, shielded 
Cubi&res, who is his ruin, showed his contempt for Par- 
mentier, who defends him, threw out notes, interruptions, 
replies, complaints, shouts. He was turbulent, yet in- 
genuous ; overcome with emotion, yet dignified. He was 
clear, rapid, persuasive, supplicating, menacing, full of 
anguish without any trepidation, moderate and violent, 
haughty and tearful. At one point he powerfully affected 
me. His very soul found expression in the cries which 


he uttered. I was tempted to rise and say to him, " You 
have convinced me ; I will leave my seat and take up my 
position on the bench at your side ; will you let me be 
your counsel ? " And then I restrained myself, thinking 
that if his innocence continued to be made manifest to 
me, I should perhaps be more useful to him as a judge 
among his judges. 

Pellapra is the pivot on which the case turns. Teste 
appears sincerely grieved at his flight. If Pellapra re- 
turns, all will be clear. I ardently hope that Teste is 
innocent, and that, if innocent, he will be saved. 

At the rising of the Court, I followed him with my 
eyes as he went out He slowly and sadly crossed the 
benches of the Peers, looking to right and left upon these 
chairs, which perhaps he will never occupy again. Two 
ushers, who guarded him, walked one in front of him, and 
the other behind him. 

July 12. 

The aspect of the case has suddenly changed. Some 
fresh documents l are terribly incriminating to Teste. 
Cubi&res rises, and confirms the authenticity and impor- 
tance of these documents. Teste replies haughtily and 
energetically, but for all that his confidence diminishes. 
His mouth contracts. I feel uneasy about him. I begin 
to tremble for fear he has been deceiving us all. Par- 
mentier listens, almost with a smile, and with his arms 
carelessly folded. Teste sits down again, and takes an 
immense number of pinches of snuff out of his great 
boxwood snuffbox, then wipes the perspiration off his 

* A letter of Madame Pellapra, signed "Emilie Pellapra;" six notes 
written by Teste and recognised by him (he took them in his trembling 
hand and said, "They are mine 1 '); an extract from the accounts of 
Pellapra, appearing to show that he had remitted the ninety-four thousand 
francs to Teste* 


forehead with a red silk handkerchief. The Court is 
profoundly agitated. 

" I can imagine what he suffers by what I suffer my- 
self," M. de Pont^coulant said to me. " What torture it 
is ! " said General Neigre. " It is a slow guillotine 
stroke," said Bertin de Vaux. Apprehension is at its 
height among the members of the Court and the public. 
All are anxious not to lose one word. The Peers cry 
out to those who address them, " Speak up ! Speak up ! 
We cannot hear." The chancellor begs the Court to 
consider his great age. 

The heat is insupportable. 

The stock-broker Goupil gives his evidence. Teste 
makes a desperate struggle. 

M. Charles Dupin questions the stock-broker. Teste 
follows him with his eyes, and applauds him with a 
smile. Anything more doleful than this smile could not 
be imagined. 

On this occasion the private conference was held before 
the sitting in the old Chamber. The Peers buzzed like 
a swarm of bees. The chancellor came to the bench on 
which I was seated, and spoke to me of matters connected 
with the Academic; then of the trial, of his feeling of 
fatigue and grief ; saying how pleasant was a meeting of 
the Academic after a sitting of the Court of Peers. 

In his evidence M. Legrand, Under-secretary of State 
for Public Works, described Teste as " a person who is 
sitting behind me." Teste shrugged his shoulders. 

After the serious evidence of the notary Koquebert, 
the face of Teste assumes an agonized expression. 

At the production of the document for the Treasury 
he turned red, wiped his forehead in anguish, and turned 
towards his son. They exchanged a few words; then 
Teste began once more to turn over his papers, and the 
son buried his head in his hands. 


In one hour Teste has aged ten years ; his head moves, 
his lower lip twitches. Yesterday he was a lion ; to-day 
he is a booby. 

Everything in this affair moves by fits and starts. 
Yesterday I saw that Teste was innocent, to-day I see 
that he is guilty. Yesterday I admired him, to-day I 
should be tempted to despise him were he not so miser- 
able. But I no longer feel anything but pity for him. 

This trial was one of the most terrible spectacles 
which I have ever witnessed in my life. It is a moral 
dismemberment. That which our forefathers saw eighty 
years ago in the Place de Grfeve, on the day of the execu- 
tion of Damiens, we have seen to-day, on the day of the 
execution of President Teste in the Court of Peers. We 
have seen a man tortured with hot irons and dismem- 
bered in the spirit. Every hour, every minute, some- 
thing was torn from him : at twelve o'clock his distinction 
as a magistrate ; at one o'clock his reputation as an up- 
right minister ; at two o'clock his conscience as an honest 
man ; half an hour later, the respect of others ; a quarter 
of an hour afterwards, his own self-respect. In the end, 
he was but a corpse. It lasted for six hours. 

For my OWTI part, as I said to the Chief President 
Legagneur, I doubt whether I should ever have the 
hardihood, even were Teste convicted and guilty, to add 
any punishment whatever to this unparalleled chastise- 
ment, to this frightful torment. 

July 13. 

As I entered the cloak-room Viscount Lemercier, who 
was there, said to me, " Have you heard the news ? " 
"No." "Teste has attempted to commit suicide, and 

The fact is as stated. M. Teste, yesterday evening, at 
nine o'clock, fired two pistol-shots at himself; he fired 


two shots simultaneously, one with each hand. One he 
aimed in his mouth, and the cap missed fire ; the other 
at his heart, and the hullet rebounded, the shot heing 
fired from too close a distance. 

The chancellor read in the private conference the 
official documents detailing the occurrence ; they were 
afterwards re-read at the public sitting. The pistols were 
deposited upon the table of the Court. They are two 
very little pistols, quite new, with ivory handles. 

Teste, not having succeeded in destroying himself, re- 
fuses henceforth to appear before the Court. He has 
written to the chancellor a letter in which he abandons 
his defence, " the documents produced yesterday leaving 
no room for contradiction." This is the language of an 
advocate, not of a man ; a man would have said, " I am 

When we entered the Court, M. Dupin the elder, who 
was seated behind me on the Deputies' bench, said to me, 
"Guess what book Teste sent for to kill time with?" 
" I do not know." " ' Monte-Cristo ! ' * Not the first four 
volumes/ he said, 'I have read them.' 'Monte-Cristo' 
was not to be found in the library of the House of Peers. 
It had to be borrowed from a public reading-room, which 
only had it in periodical parts. Teste spends his time 
in reading these parts." 

My neighbour, the Duke of Brancas, who is a kind 
and worthy veteran, says to me, "Do not oppose the con- 
demnation. It is God's justice which will be done." 

Yesterday evening, when General Cubi&res was in- 
formed that Teste had fired two pistol-shots at himself, 
he wept bitterly. 

I note that to-day is a fatal day, the 13th of July. 
The seat lately occupied by Teste is empty at the sitting. 
The clerk of the court, La Chauvinifere, reads the indict- 
ment M. Cubiferes listens with an air of profound sad- 


ness, then hides his face in his hand. Parmentier holds 
his head down the whole time. The events of yesterday 
the attempted suicide of Teste and his letter to the 
chancellor destroy in its very foundations the abomin- 
able line of defence of Parmentier. 

At ten minutes past one the Procurator-general Del- 
angle rises to address the Court. He twice repeats, 
amid the painful impression which prevails, " Messieurs 
les Pairs " then stops short, and continues : " The trial 
is ended." The procurator-general spoke only for ten 

It is a curious fact that Teste and Delangle have all 
their lives been brought into close association, Delangle 
following Teste, and in the end prosecuting him. Teste 
was the Idtonnier of the bar; Delangle held the office 
immediately after him. Teste was appointed president 
of the Court of Cassation; Delangle entered the same 
court as advocate-general. Teste is accused, Delangle is 

I now understand the meaning of the movement of the 
father and son which I noticed yesterday at the moment 
of the production of the document from the Treasury ; 
the father said to the son, " Give me the pistols." The 
son handed them to him, and then sank his head in his 
hands. It is in this way, I think, the sombre tragedy 
must have happened. 

At the opening of the sitting the chancellor reads a 
letter, in which Cubi&res resigns his position as a Peer. 

The question is put as to whether the accused are 

" Is Cubiferes guilty of fraud ? " Unanimously " No." 

Upon the question of corruption : 

* Is Teste guilty ? " Unanimously " Yes." 

"Is Cubi&res guilty?" Unanimously, with the excep- 
tion of three votes, " Yes." 


" Is Parmentier guilty ? " Unanimously " Yes." 

Sentences : 

Teste is sentenced to civil degradation unanimously, 
with the exception of one vote. 

Upon the question of the fines, I rose in my turn, and 
said, " I desire to punish a guilty man ; I do not desire 
to punish a family, that is to say, innocent persons. 
The restitution of the money received, to my mind, 
would be sufficient. No fine. My lords, the example is 
not in a fine ; the example is in the terrible things which 
you have seen; the example is in the terrible act to 
which you have just committed yourselves. A fine dete- 
riorates the example. It places a question of money in 
the place of a question of honour." 

Teste was condemned to pay a fine of ninety-four 
thousand francs. 

At half -past six a fresh letter from General Cubi&res 
is read, in which he states that he has requested that he 
may be placed on the retired list. The unhappy man 
throws something overboard at every moment 

July 15. 

At half-past twelve the calling of the names takes 
place. The Court is profoundly and painfully agitated. 
The law officials claim the whole law, the whole penalty, 
against Cubiferes ; the nobles are more humane. 

The Court proceeds to pass sentence. 

Upon the question whether Teste should be imprisoned, 
I said, " My lords, the guilty man has already been suffi- 
ciently punished. At the present moment he is sixty- 
seven years of age ; in five years he will be seventy-two. 
I will not add one word. No imprisonment ! " 

Teste is sentenced to three years' imprisonment. 

Respecting Cubiferes and the penalty of civic degrada- 
tion, when my turn came, I said, " I feel that the Court 


is weary, and I am suffering myself from a feeling of 
agitation which unsettles me; I rise notwithstanding. 
I have studied, as you have, my lords, with whatever 
intelligence and power of attention I may have, the 
whole of the indictment in this deplorable case. I have 
examined facts. I have contrasted persons. I have en- 
deavoured to penetrate not only into the heart of the case, 
but into the hearts of these men you are trying at this 
moment. Well, this is the conclusion I have arrived at : 
In my opinion, General Cubi&res was led astray, led 
astray by Pellapra, defrauded by Parnientier. Under 
these circumstances, there has been, I acknowledge, 
weakness, a weakness censurable, inexcusable, gravely 
culpable even, but after all only weakness ; and weak- 
ness is not baseness, and I do not wish to punish weak- 
ness with infamy. I will avow, and the Court will 
pardon this avowal, that during the many hours that 
this unfortunate affair has occupied our minds I imag- 
ined that you were going to render an altogether different 
decision in your all-powerful and sovereign justice. I 
should have wished to leave in his terrible isolation the 
painful and conspicuous figure of the principal defendant. 
This man, who, by dint of talent, has contrived a mir- 
acle which, for my part, I should always have thought 
impossible to be great in his abasement and touching 
in his shame ; this man I should have liked to punish 
simply with civic degradation. And I should have 
wished to add nothing to this fearful penalty ; in such 
a case that which increases diminishes. For the weak 
and unfortunate General Cubiferes, I should have wished 
a sentence of deprivation, for a certain period of time, of 
the civic and civil rights mentioned in Article 401. And 
finally, for the men of money, I should have wished 
money penalties ; for the miscreants, humiliating penal- 
ties ; for Parmentier, fine and imprisonment For these 


men of such diversity of guilt I should have wished for 
a diversity of penalties, which your omnipotence would 
permit you to decree, and the observance of this propor- 
tion between the misdeeds and the punishments ap- 
peared to me to be in accordance with conscience, and I will 
add, although that concerns me less, in accordance 
with public opinion. In your wisdom you have judged 
otherwise. I bow to it, but I beg you, nevertheless, to 
approve my remaining of the same opinion. In an as- 
sembly in which there are so many men of importance 
who have occupied, or who will yet occupy, the highest 
functions in the State and the government, I appreciate, I 
honour, I respect that noble feeling of outraged decency 
which leads you to inflict unusually heavy penalties at this 
juncture, and to afford not only the most just but also 
the most cruel satisfaction to public opinion. I, gentle- 
men, am not a lawyer, I am not a soldier, I am not a public 
functionary, I am an ordinary tax-payer ; I am a member, 
like any one else, of the great crowd from which ema- 
nates that public opinion to which you defer ; and it is 
for this, it is because I am simply this, that I am per- 
haps qualified to say to you, Enough ! Stop ! Go as far 
as the limits of justice ; do not overstep them. The ex- 
ample has been set. Do not destroy that isolation of the 
condemned man Teste, which is the grand aspect, the 
grand moral lesson of the trial. As long as it was 
a question only of this unhappy man, I spoke to you 
merely in the language of pity ; I speak to you now in the 
language of equity, solemn and austere equity. I con- 
jure you, give credit to General Cubiferes for his sixty 
years of honourable life, give credit to him for the agony 
he has suffered for those four years of torture which he 
endured at the villainous hands of Parmentier, for this 
public exposure upon that bench during four days; 
give credit to him for that unjust accusation of fraud, 


which was also a torture to him ; give credit to him for 
h^s generous hesitation to save himself by ruining Teste ; 
give credit to him, finally, for his heroic conduct upon 
the battle-field of Waterloo, where I regret that he did 
not remain. I formally propose to sentence M. Cubiferes 
to the penalty provided by Article 401, together with Ar- 
ticle 42 ; that is to say, to a suspension of civil and civic 
rights for ten years. I vote against civic degradation." 

At seven o'clock there still remain eighty Peers who 
have not voted. The chancellor proposes an adjourn- 
ment until the morrow. Objections are made: An ad- 
journment while the voting is taking place ! M. Cauchy 
reads precedent from the Qu^nisset trial. Uproar. The 
adjournment is carried. 

July 16. 

Continuation of the voting upon the question of the 
penalty to be inflicted upon General Cubi&res. 

The penalty of civic degradation is carried by 130 
votes to 48. 

He is condemned besides to a fine of ten thousand 

No imprisonment. 

It appears that the decision in favour of inflicting the 
penalty of civic degradation upon General Cubiferes, which 
has just been arrived at, has reached the prison. Just 
now I heard in the street the dreadful cries of Madame 
de Cubiferes and Madame de Sampays, her sister, who 
were with the general at the moment when the news was 
communicated to him. 

July 17. 

Sentence upon Parmentier. 

Upon the question of civic degradation I said, "I 
should have wished, as the Court is aware, in order that 


a great example might be made, that President Teste 
should have been left in his degrading isolation, alone 
under the burden of civic degradation." The Court did 
not agree with me ; it thought proper to associate with 
him General Cubiferes. I cannot do otherwise than asso- 
ciate with him Parmentier. I vote for civic degradation, 
while profoundly regretting that I am obliged, after this 
great social and public penalty has been inflicted upon 
two ex-Ministers, upon two Peers of France, to whom it 
is everything, to inflict it upon this wretch to whom it is 

Parmentier is condemned to civic degradation and a 
fine of ten thousand francs. No imprisonment. 

As we were about to leave, and were in the cloak-room, 
Anatole de Montesquiou, who constantly voted in the 
most lenient sense, pointed out to me, in the second com- 
partment of the cloak-room near that in which I am put- 
ting on my things, an old Peer's robe hanging at the side 
of the robe of the Minister of Public Instruction. This 
robe is worn at the elbows, the gilt of the buttons is 
rubbed off, the embroidery faded ; an old ribbon of the 
Legion of Honour is in the button-hole, more yellow than 
red, and half untied. Above this coat was written, 
according to the custom, the name of him to whom it 
belonged: " M. TESTE." 

My opinion is that the public will consider the decree 
of the Court of Peers just in the case of Teste, harsh in 
that of Cubiferes, and lenient in that of Parmentier. 

At half-past four the doors were thrown open to the 
public. An immense crowd had been waiting since the 
morning. In a moment the galleries were noisily filled. 
It was like a wave. Then profound silence when the 
calling of the names began. The Peers replied, generally 
speaking, in a barely audible and weary tone of voice. 

Then the chancellor put on his shaped hat of black 


velvet lined with ermine, and read the decree. The pro- 
curator-general was at his post. The chancellor read 
the decree in a firm tone, very remarkable in an old man 
of eighty years of age. Whatever may have been said 
by certain newspapers, he did not shed " silent tears." 

The judgment will be read presently by the Chief 
Clerk of the Court to the condemned men. 

It will be just a month ago to-morrow, the 18th, that 
Teste was arraigned by the judicial committee of the 
Peers, and that he said to them, " I thank you for plac- 
ing me in a position which gives me the precious privi- 
lege of defending myself." 

July 21. 

It is a curious fact that M. Teste, who, as Minister of Pub- 
lic Works, had this Luxembourg prison built, is the first 
minister who has been confined in it. This reminds one 
of the gibbet of Montfaucon, and of Enguerrand de 

M. Teste occupies in this prison an apartment sepa- 
rated only by a partition from the apartment of General 
Cubiferes. The partition is so thin that, as M. Teste speaks 
loudly, Mme. de Cubiferes was obliged on the first day to 
tap upon the wall to warn M. Teste that she heard all 
he said. The pistol-shot, too, made General Cubiferes 
start as though it had been fired in his own apartment. 

The sitting of the 12th had been so decisive that some 
act of desperation was thought probable. During the 
very sitting the Duke Decazes had had iron bars put to 
the windows of the prisoners. They found these bars in 
the windows on coming back, but did not feel any sur- 
prise on seeing them. They also had their razors taken 
from them, and had to dine without knives. 

Policemen were to remain day and night by their side. 
However, it was thought that M. Teste might be left 


alone with his son and the counsel who were defending 
him. He dined with them almost in silence, a remark- 
able fact, for he was a great talker. The little he did 
say was concerning matters foreign to the trial. At nine 
o'clock the son and the barristers retired. The police- 
man who was to watch M. Teste received orders to go up 
directly. It was during the few minutes which elapsed 
between the departure of his son and the entrance of the 
policeman that M. Teste made his attempt to commit 

Many persons had doubted whether this attempt was 
seriously intended. This was the tone of the comments 
in the Chamber. M. Delessert, the prefect of police, 
whom I questioned on this subject, told me there could 
be no doubt about it that M. Teste had tried to kill him- 
self in downright good earnest, but he believes that only 
one pistol-shot was fired. 

After his condemnation, General Cubiferes received 
many visits ; the sentence of the Court missed its mark 
by reason of its excessive severity. The general's 
visitors, in going to his cell, passed before that of Par- 
mentier, which was only closed with a door having, in- 
stead of a glass pane, a white curtain, through which he 
could be seen. All of them in passing by loaded Par- 
mentier with terms of contempt, which obliged the fellow 
to hide in a corner where he was no longer visible. 

During the trial the heat was intense. At every 
moment the chancellor had to summon back the Peers 
who went off to the refreshment-bars or the lobbies. 

Lord Normanby did not miss a single sitting. 

July 22. 

The name of Teste has already been removed from his 
seat in the House of Peers. It is General Achard now 
who occupies his chair. 


Yesterday, Tuesday, the 21st of July, as I was pro- 
ceeding from the Acaddmie to the House of Peers, to- 
wards four o'clock, I met near the exit of the Institute, 
in the most deserted part of the Rue Mazarine, Parmentier 
coming out of prison. He was going in the direction 
of the Quay. His son accompanied him. Parmentier, 
dressed in black, carried his hat in his hand behind 
his back; with his other arm he leaned upon his son. 
The son had a downcast look. Parmentier appeared 
completely overwhelmed. He had the appearance of 
exhaustion, of a man who has just come from a long 
walk. His bald head seemed to bend beneath his shame. 
They were walking slowly. 

It was stated to-day at the Chamber that Madame de 
Cubiferes gave a soirie two days after the condemnation. 
It appears that in reality she simply contented herself 
with not shutting her door. She has just written to the 
newspapers a letter, which will not do her husband much 
good, but in which there is nevertheless one fine passage, 
as follows : "He has had his peerage, his rank, everything 
taken from him, even to his dignity as a citizen. He 
retains his wounds." 

The chancellor offered to let M. de Cubiferes leave the 
prison by one of the private gates of the chancellor's 
official residence in the Luxembourg. A hired convey- 
ance would have awaited M. de Cubiferes, and he would 
have got in without being seen by any one in the street. 
M. de Cubi&res refused. An open carriage, drawn by two 
horses, came and took up its position at the gate-way of 
the Rue de Vaugerard, in the midst of the crowd. M. de 
Cubiferes got into it, accompanied by his wife and Madame 
de Sampays, and this is how he came out of prison. 
Since then he has had, every evening, more than a hun- 
dred visitors. There are always some forty carriages at 
his door. 



THE prison for condemned convicts, built by the side 
of, and as a comparison to, the prison for youthful 
offenders, is a living and striking antithesis. It is not 
only that the beginning and the ending of the evil-doer 
face each other ; there is also the perpetual confronting 
of the two penal systems, solitary confinement and 
imprisonment in common. This is almost enough to de- 
cide the question. It is a dark and silent duel between 
the dungeon and the cell, between the old prison and the 

On one side were all the condemned, pell-mell, the 
child of seventeen with the old man of seventy; the 
prisoner of thirteen months with the convict for life ; 
the beardless lad who had filched apples and the assassin 
of the highway, snatched from the Place Saint-Jacques 
and sent to Toulon in consequence of "extenuating 
circumstances ; " the almost innocent and the quasi- 
condemned ; the blue-eyed and the grey-beard ; hideous, 
pestilential workshops, where they sewed and worked in 
semi-darkness, amid things dirty and foetid, without air, 
daylight, speech ; without looking at each other ; without 
interest ; horrible, mournful spectres, some of whom terri- 
fied one by their age, and others by their youth. 

On the other side a cloister, a hive, each worker in his 
cell, each soul in its alveole : an immense edifice of three 
stories, inhabited by neighbours who never saw each 
other ; a town composed of small hermitages ; nothing 
but children, and children who do not know each other, 
who live years close to each other without ever hearing 
the echo of each other's foot-falls or the sound of their 
voices, separated by a wall, by an abyss : work, study, 


tools, books ; eight hours' sleep, one hour of repose, one 
hour of play, in a small walled court ; prayers morning 
and evening ; thought ever ! 

On one side the cesspool, on the other cultivation ! 

You enter a cell ; you find a child standing up before a 
bench lighted by a dirty window, of which one square 
pane at the top can be opened. The child is clad in 
coarse serge; clean, grave, quiet He ceases working 
and salutes. You question him ; he replies with a seri- 
ous gaze, and in subdued tones. Some are making locks, 
a dozen a day ; others are carving furniture, etc., etc. 
There are as many conditions as stories ; as many work- 
shops as corridors. The child can read and write besides. 
He has in prison a master for his brain as well as for his 

You must not think that because of its mildness 
the prison is insufficient punishment. No; it is pro- 
foundly sad. All the prisoners have an appearance of 
punishment which is peculiar. 

There are still many more criticisms to be passed ; the 
cell system begins. It has almost all its improvements 
to come ; but, incomplete and imperfect as it is at present, 
it is admirable when compared with the system of im- 
prisonment in common. 

The prisoner a captive on all sides, and only at all 
free on the working side interests himself in what he 
makes, whatever it may be. Thus, a lad who hated all 
occupations becomes a most furiously industrious me- 
chanic. When one is in solitary confinement one man- 
ages to find light in the darkest dungeon. 

August 5. 

The other day I was visiting the convict prison, and I 
said to the governor, who accompanied me : 

" You have a man condemned to death here now ? " 


" Yes, sir, a man named Marquis, who tried to murder 
a girl, Torisse, with intent to rob her." 

" I should like to speak to that man," I said. 

* Sir," replied the governor, " I am here to take your 
orders, but I cannot admit you into the condemned cell" 

Why not ? " 

" Sir, the police regulations do not permit us to intro- 
duce everybody into the cells of the condemned." 

I replied, " I am not acquainted with the conditions of 
the police regulations, M. le Directeur de la Prison, but I 
know what the law permits. The law places the prisons 
under the authority of the Chambers, and the officials 
under the surveillance of the Peers of France, who can be 
called upon to judge them. Wherever it is possible that 
an abuse may exist, the legislature may come in and 
search for it. Evil may exist in the cell of a man con- 
demned to death. It is therefore my duty to enter, and 
yours to open it." 

The governor made no reply, and led me forward. 

We skirted a small courtyard in which were some 
flowers, and which was surrounded by a gallery. This 
was the exercise-ground of the condemned prisoners. It 
was surrounded by four lofty buildings. In the centre 
of one of the sides of the gallery there is a heavy door 
bound with iron. A wicket opened, and I found myself 
in a kind of ante-chamber, gloomy, and paved with stone. 
Before me were three doors, one directly opposite me, the 
others on either hand : three heavy doors, pierced with a 
grating, and cased with iron. These three doors opened 
into three cells, appropriated to the use of the condemned 
criminals who awaited their fate after the double appeal 
to the judge and to the Supreme Courts. This generally 
means a respite of two months. 

" We have never had more than two of these cells oc- 
cupied at the same time," said the governor. 
VOL. xxiv. 12 


The door of the centre one was opened. It was that of 
the condemned cell then occupied. 

I entered. 

As I crossed the threshold a man rose quickly and 
stood up. 

This man was at the other end of the cell. I saw him 
at once. A pale gleam of daylight which descended from 
a wide, deeply-set window above his head lighted it up 
from the back. His head was bare, his neck was bare ; 
he had shoes on and a strait-waistcoat, and pantaloons of 
brown woollen stuff. The sleeves of this waistcoat, of 
thick grey linen, were tied in front. His hand could be 
distinguished resting on this, and holding a pipe quite 
full of tobacco. He was on the point of lighting this 
pipe at the moment the door was opened. This was the 
condemned man. 

Nothing could be seen through the window but a 
glimpse of the rainy sky. 

There was a moment's silence. I was too greatly 
moved to be able to speak. 

He was a young man, evidently not more than twenty- 
two or twenty-three years old. His chestnut hair, which 
curled naturally, was cut short ; his beard had not been 
trimmed. He had beautiful large eyes, but his glance 
was low and villainous, his nose flat, his temples promi- 
nent; the bones behind the ears large, which is a bad 
sign ; the forehead low, the mouth coarse, and to the left 
of the cheek was that peculiar puffing which agony pro- 
duces. He was pale; his whole face was contracted; 
nevertheless, at our entry he forced a smile. 

He stood upright His bed was on his left hand, a 
kind of truckle-bed, in disorder, on which he had in all 
probability been extended just previously, and to his 
right a small table of wood, coarsely painted a yellow 
hue, having for a top a plank painted to imitate marbla 


On this table were glazed earthenware dishes containing 
cooked vegetables and a little meat, a piece of bread, and 
a leathern pouch full of tobacco. A straw chair stood 
beside the table. 

This was not the horrible cell of the Conciergerie. It 
was a good-sized room, fairly light, coloured yellow, fur- 
nished with the bed, table, and chair aforesaid, a faience 
stove, and a shelf fitted in the angle of the wall opposite 
the window laden with old clothes and old crockery. In 
another corner there was a square chair, which replaced 
the ignoble tub of the old prisons. Everything was clean, 
or nearly so, in good order, swept and garnished, and had 
that indescribable homeliness about it which deprives 
things of their unpleasantness as well as of their attrac- 
tiveness. The barred window was open. Two small 
chains for supporting the sashes hung to two nails above 
the head of the condemned man. Near the stove two 
men stood, a soldier, armed only with his sword, and a 
warder. Condemned criminals always have this escort 
of two men, who do not leave him night or day. The 
attendants are relieved every three hours. 

I did not take in all these details at once. The con- 
demned man absorbed all my attention. 

M. Paillard de Villeneuve was with me. The governor 
broke the silence. \ 

" Marquis," he said, pointing to me, " this gentleman is 
here in your interest." 

" Sir," I said, "if you have any complaint to make, I am 
here to ent^tain it." 

The condemned bowed, and replied with a smile which 
sat ill upon him, " I have no complaints, sir ; I am very 
well here. These gentlemen [indicating his guardians] 
are very kind, and would willingly converse with me. 
The governor comes to see me from time to time." 

" How do they feed you ? " I asked. 


"Very well, sir; I have double rations." Then he 
added, after a pause, " We have a right to double rations ; 
and then I have white bread too." 

I glanced at the piece of bread, which was white. 

He added, "The prison bread is the only thing to 
which I have not been able to accustom myself. At 
Sainte-Pelagie, where I was detained, we formed a society 
of young men among ourselves, and so as not to mix with 
the others, to have white bread." 

I replied, " Were you better off in Sainte-Pelagie than 

" I was very well at Sainte-Pelagie, and I am very well 

I continued, " You said that you did not wish to mix 
with the others. What do you mean by * the others ' ? " 

" There were a great many common people there," he 

The condemned was the son of a porter in the Rue 

" Is your bed comfortable ? " I asked. 

The governor lifted the coverings and said, "Yes, sir; a 
hair mattress, two mattresses, and two blankets." 

" And two bolsters," added Marquis. 

* Do you sleep well ? " I asked. 

He replied without hesitation, " Very well." 

There was on the bed an open, torn volume. 

You read ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

I took up the book. It was an " Abridgment of Geo- 
graphy and History," printed in the last century. The 
first pages and half the binding were wanting. The book 
was open at a description of the Lake of Constance. 

" Sir," said the governor to me, "I lent him that book" 

I turned to Marquis. 

* Does this book interest you ? " 


"Yes, sir," he replied. "The governor has also lent 
me the ' Voyages of La P^rouse ' and Captain Cook. I 
am very fond of the adventures of our great explorers. 
I have read them already, but I re-read them with pleas- 
ure, and I will read them again in one year, or in ten." 

He did not say I could read them, but I will read them. 
For the rest, the poor young man was a good talker, and 
was fond of hearing himself speak. " Our great explor- 
ers " is textual. He talked like a newspaper. In all the 
rest of his remarks I remarked this absence of natural- 
ness. Everything disappears in the face of death except 
affectation. Goodness vanishes, wickedness disappears, 
the benevolent man becomes bitter, the rude man polite, 
the affected man remains affected. A strange thing it is 
that death touches you, but does not give you simplicity. 

He was a poor, vain workman ; a bit of an artist, too 
much and too little, who had been destroyed by vanity. 
He had the idea of coming out and enjoying himself. He 
had stolen a hundred francs from his father's desk, and 
next day, after a course of pleasure and dissipation, he 
had killed a girl in order to rob her. This terrible ladder, 
which has so many steps that lead from domestic robbery 
to murder, from the paternal reprimand to the scaffold, 
criminals like Lacenaire and Poulmann take twenty years 
to descend ; he, this young man, who was a lad but yes- 
terday, had cleared them all in twenty-four hours ! He 
had, as an old convict, a former school-master, said in the 
courtyard, jumped all the steps. 

What an abyss is such a destiny ! 

He turned over the leaves for a few minutes, and I con- 
tinued : " Have you never had any means of existence ? " 

He raised his head, and replied with some pride, " Yes, 
indeed, sir." 

Then he proceeded. I did not interrupt him. 

" I was a furniture-designer. I have even studied to 


be an architect I am called Marquis. I was a pupil of 
M. Le Due." 

He referred to M. Viollet Le Due, the architect of the 
Louvre. I remarked, in the complacent sequence of the 
word Marquis, "Le Due!" However, he had not yet 

" I started a 'Journal of Design ' for cabinet-makers. I 
had already made some progress. I wanted to give carpet- 
manufacturers designs in the Renaissance style, made ac- 
cording to the rules of the trade, which they never had. 
They are forced to content themselves with engravings of 
very incorrect styles." 

" You had a good idea. Why did you not carry it out ? " 

* It miscarried, sir." 

He spoke the words quickly, and added : " However, I 
do not mean to say that I wanted money. I had talent, 
I sold my designs ; I would certainly have finished by 
selling them at my own price/* 

I could not help saying, " Then why " 

He understood, and answered : " I really cannot say. 
The idea crossed my mind. I should not be thought 
capable of that at this fatal day." 

At the words " fatal day " he stopped, then continued, 
with a sort of carelessness : 

" I am sorry I have not some designs here ; I would 
show them to you. I also painted landscapes. M. Le 
Due taught me water-colour painting. I succeeded in 
the Cic^ri style. I did things which you would have 
sworn were Cic&i's. I am very fond of drawing. At 
Sainte-Pelagie I drew the portraits of many of my com- 
panions in crayons only. They would not let me have 
my box of water-colours." 

" Why ?" I asked, without thinking. 

He hesitated. I was sorry I had put the question, for 
I divined the reason. 


" Sir," he said, " it was because they fancied there was 
poison in the colours. They were wrong. They are 

" But/' remarked the governor, there is minium in the 
vermilion ? " 

" It is possible," he replied. " The fact is, they did not 
permit it, and I had to content myself with the crayons. 
The portraits were all good likenesses, too." 

" And what do you do here ? " 

" I occupy myself." 

He remained deep in thought after this reply, then he 
added, " I can draw well. This," indicating the strait- 
waistcoat, " does not interfere with me. In an extreme 
case one can draw." He moved his hand beneath his 
bonds as he spoke. " And then these gentlemen are very 
kind " (indicating the attendants). " They have already 
offered to let me raise the sleeves. But I do something 
else, I read." 

" You see the chaplain, of course ? " 

" Yes, sir ; he comes to see me." 

Here he turned to the governor, and said, " But I have 
not yet seen the AbW Montfes." 

That name in his mouth had a sinister effect on me. 
I had seen the Abb4 Months ouce in my life, one sum- 
mer day on the Pont-au-Change, in the cart which was 
carrying Louvel to the scaffold. 

Nevertheless the governor replied, " Ah, dame ! He is 
old ; he is nearly eighty-six. The poor man is in attend- 
ance when he can." 

"Eighty-six!" I exclaimed. "That is what is wanted 
so long as he has a little strength. At his age one is so 
near to God that one ought to speak very beautiful 

" I will see him with pleasure," said Marquis, quickly, 

"Sir," said I, "we must have hope." 


"Oh!* said he, "do not discourage me. First, I have 
my petition to the Appeal Court, and then I have my de- 
mand en grdce. The sentence which has been pronounced 
may be quashed. I do not say that it is not just, but it 
is a little severe. They ought to have taken my age into 
consideration, and given me the benefit of extenuating 
circumstances. And then I have signed my petition to 
the king. My father, who comes to see me, bids me 
be at ease. M. Le Due himself sent the petition to his 
Majesty. M. Le Due knows me well; he knows his 
pupil Marquis. The king is not in the habit of refusing 
him anything. It is impossible that they will refuse me 
a pardon I do not say a free pardon but " 

He was silent. 

"Yes," I said, "be of good courage; you have here 
your judges on one side, and your father on the other. 
But above you have also your father and your judge, who 
is God, who cannot feel the necessity to condemn you 
without at the same time experiencing the desire to par- 
don you. Hope, then." 

u Thank you, sir," replied Marquis. 

Again silence ensued. 

Then I asked, " Do you require anything ? " 

" I would like to go out and walk in the yard a little 
oftener. That is all, sir. I only am allowed out for a 
quarter of an hour a day." 

"That is not sufficient." I said to the governor, 
"Why is it so?" 

" Because of our great responsibility," he replied. 

" Well I " I exclaimed, " put four guards on duty if two 
do not suffice, but do not refuse this young man a little 
air and sunlight A court in the centre of a prison, 
stocks and bars everywhere, four lofty walls surrounding 
it, four guards always there, the strait-waistcoat, senti- 
nels at ever; wicket, two rounds, and two enceintes sixty 


feet high, what have you to fear ? The prisoner ought to 
be allowed to walk in the courtyard when he asks 

The governor bowed, and said, " That is but just, sir. 
I will carry out your suggestions." 

The condemned man thanked me with effusiveness. 

"It is time for me to leave you," I said. "Turn to 
God, and keep up your courage." 

" I shall have good courage, sir." 

He accompanied me to the door, which was then shut 
upon him. The governor conducted me into the next 
cell on the right. It was longer than the other. It con- 
tained only a bed and a utensil. 

It was in here that Poulmann was confined. In the 
six weeks which he passed here he wore out three pairs 
of shoes walking up and down these boards. He never 
ceased walking, and did fifteen leagues a day in his celL 
He was a terrible man. 

" You have had Joseph Henri ? " I asked. 

" Yes, sir ; but in the infirmary only. He was ill. He 
was always writing to the Keeper of the Seals, to the pro- 
curator-general, to the chancellor, to the Great Eefoundary, 
letters, letters of four pages, and in small close writing, 
too. One day I said to him, laughingly, ' It is fortunate 
that you are not compelled to read what you have writ- 
ten.' No one ever read them, evidently. He was a 

As I was leaving the prison the governor indicated to 
me the two " rounds," or encircling paths : high walls, a 
scanty herbage, a sentry-box every thirty paces. He 
pointed out to me, under the very windows of the con- 
demned cells, a place where two soldiers on duty had shot 
themselves the year before. They had blown their brains 
out with their rifles, and we could see the bullet-holes in 
the sentry-box. The rain had washed away the blood- 


stains from the wall. One man had killed himself 
because his officer, seeing him without his rifle, which he 
had left in the sentry-box, said to him in passing, " fifteen 
days in the salle de police." We never found out why the 
other man shot himself. 


August 18, 4 P. M. 

I HAVE this instant learned that the Duchess of Pras- 
lin was assassinated last night in her own mansion, 
No. 55 Rue St. Honon*. 

August 20. 

The Court of Peers is convened for to-morrow, to ar- 
raign M. de Praslin. 

SATURDAY, August 21. Written at this sitting. 

At seven minutes past two the public sitting opens. 
The Keeper of the Seals, Hubert, mounts the tribune, and 
reads the ordinance which constitutes the Court of Peers. 

There are women on the benches; a man, stout and 
bald and white, of ruddy countenance, closely resembling 
Parmentier, is in the west tribune, and for a moment 
attracts the attention of the Peers. 

The chancellor causes the tribunes to be evacuated; 
the Procurator-general Delangle is introduced, and the 
Advocate-general Bresson, in red robes. The chancellor 
remarks that the tribunes are not all empty, those of the 
reporters among others ; he gets angry, and gives orders 
to the ushers. The tribunes are cleared with some 


M. de Praslin was arrested yesterday, and transferred 
to the prison of the chamber on the chancellor's warrant. 
He was committed this morning at daybreak. He is in 
the cell where M. Teste was. 

It was M. de Praslin who, on the 17th of July, passed 
over the pen to sign the warrant for the arrest of MM. 
Teste and Cubiferes. A month after, exactly, on the 17th 
of August, he signed his own warrant with his dagger. 

The Duke of Praslin is a man of middle height, and of 
rather commonplace appearance. He has a very gentle, 
but a very false, manner. He has a villainous mouth, and 
a horribly constrained smile. He is a fair, pallid man ; 
pale, washed-out, like an Englishman. He is neither fat 
nor thin, nor good-looking nor ugly. He has no signs of 
breeding in his hands, which are fat and thick. He has 
always the air of being about to say something which he 
never does say. 

I have only spoken to him three or four times in my 
life. The last time we were ascending the great staircase 
together. I had informed him that I would interrogate 
the Minister of War if they did not pardon Dubois de 
Gennes. whose brother had been the duke's secretary. 
He said that he would support me. 

He had not behaved well towards this Dubois de Gennes. 
He had put him aside very cavalierly. The duke under- 
took to present his petitions to the king with his own 
hands, and he put them in the post ! 

M. de Praslin did not speak in the Chamber. He voted 
sternly in the trial. He decided very harshly in the 
Teste affair. 

In 1830 I occasionally met him at the house of the 
Marquis de Marmier, since duke. He was then only Mar- 
quis de Praslin, as his brother was alive. I had noticed 
the marquise, a good-looking stout woman, a contrast 
to the marquis, who was then very thin. 


The poor duchess was literally hacked to pieces with 
the knife, and stunned by the butt of the pistol. Allard, 
the successor to Vidocq, of the secret police, said, " It 
was clumsily done ; trained assassins would have worked 
better ; a man of the world did that ! " 

The Comte de Nocd came up to me in the robing-room, 
and said, " Do you understand ? He has made a fire to 
burn his robe de chambre" 

I replied, " He had something to burn ! It was not his 
robe de chambre, it was his brain." 

A month ago the army received a blow in the case of 
General Cubiferes ; the magistrature, in President Teste ; 
now the old nobility has had its turn in the Duke of 

This must be put a stop to. 

Sunday, 22. 

At the present moment one can perceive, in the window 
of Mile, de Luzzy, in Madame Lemaire's house, Kue du 
Harlay, in the court, the melon, the bouquet, and the 
basket of fruit which the duke brought from the country 
the very evening before the murder. 

The duke is seriously ill. People say he is poisoned. 
Just now I heard a flower-girl say, " Mon Dieu, if only 
they do kill him, it will amuse me very much to read all 
the details in the paper every evening." 

In his address to the Court, in secret sitting, the chan- 
cellor said the duty which devolved upon the Court, and 
upon him, was the most painful they had ever been called 
upon to perform. His voice literally changed while he 
spoke these words. Before the sitting commenced he 
came into the reading-room ; I bade him good-morning, 
and we shook hands. The old chancellor was overcome. 

The chancellor also said, " Rumours of suicide and of 
escape are in circulation. Messieurs les Pairs may rest 


assured. No precaution will be spared to ensure for the 
culprit, if he be found guilty, the public and legal punish- 
ment which he has incurred and deserves, and which he, 
in that case, cannot by any means escape/' 

They say that the procurator-general Delangle already 
repeats to his intimates his little " effective bit " the 
description of the room after the crime had been com- 
mitted there, the sumptuous furniture, the golden fringe, 
the silken hangings, etc. ; there a pool of blood ; here the 
open window, the rising sun, the trees, the garden as far 
as the eye could reach, the songs of the birds, the sun- 
light, etc. ; then the corpse of the deceased duchess. 
Contrast! Delangle is astonished at the effect before- 
hand, and is dazzled by himself. 

On the 17th Mile, de Luzzy had dined at Mme. 
Lemaire's, at the under-teachers* table. She was pale, 
and appeared to be suffering. " What is the matter with 
you ? " asked Mile. Julie Rivifere, one of her companions. 
Mile, de Luzzy replied that she did not feel very well ; 
that she had fainted that day in the Rue St. Jacques, but 
the doctor had not thought it necessary to bleed her. 

Doctor Louis is the Praslin family practitioner. They 
called him to see the duke. The prefect of police made 
the doctor promise that he would only speak to the duke 
concerning his health. The precaution turned out to be 
quite needless. The duke would scarcely respond, even 
by signs, to the doctor's questions. He was in a strange 
torpor. M. Louis perceived that he had tried to poison 
himself by swallowing a narcotic. 

M. Louis did not think he ought to be moved on the 
20th. He thought that if the chancellor had him dragged 
to Luxembourg, notwithstanding his advice, it was in the 
hope that the duke would die on the way. I do not 
think so. 

The populace is exasperated against the duke; the 


family is still more indignant than the populace. If he 
were to be judged by his family, he would be more 
severely condemned than by the Court of Peers, and more 
cruelly tortured than by the people. 

August 21. 

On Wednesday, when coming from the Academic with 
Cousin and the Count of Saint- Aulaire, Cousin said, " You 
will see Mile, de Luzzy ; she is a rare woman. Her letters 
are masterpieces of wit and style. Her interrogatory is 
admirable ; still, you will not read it except when trans- 
lated by Canchy. If you had heard her you would have 
been astonished. No one has more grace, more tact or 
intelligence. If she wishes to write some day for us, we 
will give her, par Dieu, the Montyon Prize. For the rest, 
she is headstrong and imperious ; she is a woman at once 
wicked and charming." 

I said to Cousin, " Ah, so you are in love with her ? " 

To which he replied, " H^e ! " 

" What do you think of the affair ? " said M. de Saint- 
Aulaire, addressing me. 

" There must have been some motive. If not, the duke 
is a madman. The cause is in the duchess or in the mis- 
tress ; but she is in the swim, otherwise the fact is impos- 
sible. There is at the bottom of such a crime as this 
either a very powerful reason or a great folly." 

That was, in effect, my opinion. As for the ferocity of 
the duke, it is explained by his stupidity; he was a 
beast and ferocious. 

The populace have already coined the verb Prasliner 
to Prasliner your wife. 

The examining Peers visited the Praslin mansion the 
day before yesterday. The bedroom is still in the state 
it was left on the morning of the murder. The blood 
from red has turned to black ; that is the only difference. 


This room gives one the horrors. One can see the terrible 
struggle and resistance of the duchess as they actually 
occurred. Everywhere are the prints of bloody hands 
passing from wall to wall, from one door to another, from 
one bell-pull to another. The unhappy woman, like a 
wild animal caught in a snare, must have rushed round 
and round the room, screaming and seeking an escape 
from the dagger-blows of the assassin. 

From the gate in the Rue de Vaugirard one can see in 
the prison three windows which have hottes. These are 
the only ones. Three months ago they had neither bars 
nor hottes. The bars were placed for President Teste, and 
the hottes for the Duke of Praslin. Doctor Louis told me : 

" The day after the murder, at half-past 2 A.M., I was 
called, and went to M. de Praslin's house. I knew noth- 
ing 5 judge f my utter stupefaction. I found the duke 
in bed ; he was already in custody. Eight women, who 
relieved each other every hour, never took their eyes from 
him. Four police agents were seated on chairs in a 
corner. I had noticed his condition, which was terrible. 
The symptoms declared cholera or poison. People accuse 
me of not having said at once he is poisoned. That 
would have denounced him and lost him. Poisoning is a 
tacit confession of guilt. ' You should have said so,' the 
chancellor remarked to me. I replied, * Monsieur le Chan- 
cellor, where an opinion implies the condemnation of a 
person a doctor will not give it.' 

" For the rest," continued M. Louis, " the duke was 
very gentle : he was passionately fond of his children, and 
passed his life with one of them on his knee, and some- 
times one on his back too. The duchess was beautiful 
and intelligent ; she had become an enormous size. The 
duke suffered terribly, but exhibited the greatest fortitude. 
Not a word, not a complaint in the midst of the tortures 
of the arsenic." 


It would appear that M. dc Praslin was a very well 
made man. At the post-mortem the doctors were much 
struck. One of them exclaimed, "What a beautiful 
corpse ! " He was a fine athlete, Doctor Louis told me. 

The tomb in which they laid him bears a leaden plate, 
on which is the number 1054. A number after his death, 
as convicts have in life, is the only epitaph of the Duke 
of Choiseul-Praslin. 

Mile. Deluzy not De Luzzy is still in the Con- 
ciergerie. She walks about every day for two hours in 
the courtyard. Sometimes she wears a nankeen dress, 
sometimes a striped silk gown. She knows that many 
eyes are fixed on her at the windows. People who 
watch her say she strikes attitudes. She is a source of 
amusement for M. Teste, whose window looks into the 
court. She was still in confinement on the 31st. 

Granier de Cassagnac, who has seen her, has given 
me a description of her. She has a very low forehead, 
her nose turns up a great deal, her hair is very 
light-coloured. Nevertheless, she is pretty. She looks 
straight at all who pass, seeking observation, arid per- 
haps to fascinate them. 

She is one of those women who neglect the heart in 
order to cultivate the wit. She is capable of follies, 
not from passion but from egotism. 

August 30. 

A sitting in which the Court is dissolved. At a 
quarter past one I enter the Chamber. There are but 
a few Peers present, M. Villemain, M. Cousin, M. 
TWnard; some generals,,General Fabvier among them ; 
some former presidents, among thorn M. Barthe ; there 
is also M. le Comte de Bondy, who bears a singular 
resemblance to, with better characteristics than, the 
Duke of Praslin. 


I chat with General Fabvier, then for a long time 
with M. Barthe, of everything, and of those of the 
Chamber of Peers in particular. It is necessary to take 
up the subject to make the people sympathetic with 
it, and to make it sympathetic with the people. We 
spoke of the suicide of Alfred de Montesquiou. In the 
cloak-room it was the general topic, as well as another 
sad incident : the Prince of Eckmiihl has been arrested 
during the night for having stabbed his mistress. 

At two o'clock the chancellor rose ; he had on his 
right the Duke Decazes, and on his left the Viscount 
Pont^coulant. He spoke for twenty minutes. The 
attorney-general was introduced. 

There are about sixty Peers. The Duke of Brancas 
and the Marquis de Fontis are beside me. 

M. Delangle laid down his brief for the prosecution, 
holding that the Court was dissolved by the death of 
the duke. 

The attorney-general went out. The chancellor said, 
"Does any one claim the right to speak?" 

M. de Boissy rose. He partly approved of what the 
chancellor had said. The poison had been taken before 
the Court of Peers had assembled, consequently no re- 
sponsibility rested on the Court. Public opinion accused 
the Peers charged with the investigation of having 
winked at the poisoning. 

COUNT LANJUINAIS. An opinion without any foun- 

BOISSY. But universal. [No, no.] I insist that it 
may be proved that no responsibility for the poisoning 
rests upon the chancellor, the * investigating Peers, nor 
on the Courts. 

THE CHANCELLOK, No one entertains such an opin- 
ion ; the report of the post-mortem quite disposes of the 

VOL. XXIY. 18 


M. Cousin agreed with the chancellor, and, while 
sharing the anxiety of M. de Boissy, believed that there 
was no foundation for the rumour. 

M. de Boissy persisted. He believed there had been 
complicity, but he did not accuse any of the officers of 
the Court. 

M. Barthe rose, and gave way to the Duke Decazes, 
who related the circumstances of his interview with 
M. de Praslin the Tuesday he died, at 10 A.M. 

This is the interview : 

" You suffer a great deal, my dear friend ? " M. Decazes 
had said. 


" It is your own fault. Why did you poison yourself ? " 


" You have taken laudanum ? " 


" Then you have taken arsenic ? " 

The sick man looked up and said, " Yes." 

* Who procured the arsenic for you ? " 

" No one." 

" What do you mean ? Did you buy it yourself at the 
chemist's ? " 

" I brought it from Praslin." 

Silence. The Duke Decazes continued : " This is the 
time, for the sake of your family, your memory, your 
children, to speak. You confess to having taken poison. 
It is not to be supposed that an innocent person would 
deprive his nine children of their father when they are 
already motherless. You are guilty, then?" 


" At least you regret your crime. I beg of you to say 
if you deplore it." 

The accused raised his eyes and hands to heaven, and 
said, with an agonized expression, " If I deplore it 1 " 


"Then confess. Do not you wish to see the chan- 

The accused made an effort, and said, " I am ready." 

" Well, then," said the duke, " I will go and inform 

" No," replied the sick man, after a pause, " I am too 
weak to-day. To-morrow. Tell him to come to-morrow." 

At half-past four that afternoon he was dead. 

This could not be put into the pleadings, as it was a 
private conversation, which M. Decazes repeated because 
the Court was, in a sense, informal. 

M. Barthe called attention to the fact that the poison- 
ing had taken place on Wednesday, the 19th, and had 
not been renewed. 

M. de Boissy wished to punish those who watched the 
duke so carelessly. He poisoned himself on Wednesday, 
at ten in the evening. 

The chancellor said that M. de Boissy was mistaken ; 
it was four in the afternoon. Besides, such things hap- 
pen frequently in ordinary cases, and in the best-guarded 

The decree dissolving the Court was voted unanimously. 

The Duke of Massa, after the vote, asked that the words 
"his wife" should be inserted in the sentence. There 
was a Dowager Duchess of Praslin. This was allowed. 

The procurator-general was recalled, and the sentence 
was read to him. The sitting broke up at five minutes 
to three. 

Many Peers remained to chat in the hall. M. Cousin 
said to M. de Boissy, " You were right to ask for inform- 
ation. It was excellent" 

M, Decazes added to his former statement the follow- 
ing details : When the duke was carried to the Luxem- 
bourg he was clad in a dressing-gown and trousers. 
During the journey he did not vomit; he only com- 


plained of a consuming thirst When he arrived, at five 
in the afternoon, they undressed him and put him to bed 
at once. They did not give him back his dress until the 
next day, when they moved him into an adjacent room 
to be examined by the chancellor. After the exami- 
nation they undressed him again, and put him to bed 
once more. It is therefore impossible that, even if he 
had some poison in his pockets, he could have taken it. 
It is true they did not search him ; but that would have 
been futile. They watched his movements closely. 

September 18. 

Here are, in this year, 1847, the pleasures of the 
" bathers," the rich, noble, fashionable, intelligent, gener- 
ous, and distinguished visitors to Spa : 

1, Fill a bucket with water, throw into it a twenty- 
sous piece, call a poor child, and say to him, " I will give 
you that piece of money if you can pick it up with your 
teeth." The child plunges his head into the water, 
chokes, suffocates, and comes up all dishevelled and 
shivering, with the piece of silver between his teeth ; and 
they laugh. It is delightful ! 

2. Take a pig, grease its tail, and bet who will retain 
his hold of the tail longest ; the pig pulls one way, the 
gentleman another. Ten, twenty, a hundred louis are 
staked on this. 

Whole days are passed in such amusements. 

However, old Europe is falling to pieces, jacqueries 
germinate between the chinks and crevices of the old 
social order ; the future is gloomy, and the rich are on 
their trial in this century as the nobles were in the last 

B*KANGBB. 197 


November 4. 

nPO-DAY the Normal School, in the Eue d'Ulm, was 
JL opened. M. Dubois had requested me to be present. 
As I was coming out I saw approaching me in the 
corridor which leads to the staircase a man whom I did 
not at first recognize. His face was round and red, his 
eye clear and vivacious, long, greyish hair; sixty or 
more years old ; a good, smiling mouth ; an old frock-coat 
in very bad condition ; a great Quaker hat, with a broad 
brim ; inclining to stoutness, and having some resem- 
blance to my brother AbeL 

It was B^rariger. 

Ah ! Good-day, Hugo." 

" Ah ! Good-day, B^ranger." 

He took my arm. We proceeded together. 

" I will go with you to the end of the street. Have 
you a carriage ? " 

"My legs/ 1 

" Well, I have the same." 

We went by the Estrapade towards the Rue Saint- 
Jacques. Two men, dressed in black, approached us. 

"Diable!" cried B^ranger, "here are two vulgar 
pedants, the one a head-master of a school, the other a 
member of the Academy of Sciences. Do you know 


* Happy man. Hugo, you have always been in luck." 

The two pedants merely bade us good-day. We pro- 
ceeded by the Rue Saint-Hyacinthe. 

Stranger continued : 

"So you have been compelled during the last month 
to eulogize a great man of an hour, killed between his 
confessor, his mistress, and his cuckold." 


" Ah !" I said, "you do not deserve to be a Puritan. 
Do not speak thus of Frederic Souli, who had real 
talent, and a heart without bitterness." , 

" The fact is," replied Stranger, " I said' a foolish thing 
for the sake of being clever. I am not a Puritan. I 
hate the breed. Whoever says Puritan says sinner." 

And above all, "FooL" True virtue, true morality, 
and true greatness are intelligent and indulgent. 

We now passed the Place Saint-Michel, and entered, 
still arm-and-arm, the Eue M. le Prince. 

"You have done well," said Stranger to me, "to be 
content with the popularity which one can regulate. I 
have a great deal of trouble to withdraw myself from the 
popularity which carries you with it. What slave is 
there like the man who has the misfortune to be popular 
in this fashion? Look at their Reformist banquets. 
They kill me ; and I have the greatest difficulty in the 
world to avoid them. I make excuses ; I am old, I have 
a bad digestion, I never dine out, I cannot alter my rule, 
etc. Bah ! " 

"You owe it to yourself; a man like you must pay 
this forfeit, and a hundred others in the same way. I 
am exaggerating, eh ? Nevertheless, one must smile and 
put the best face on it. Ah, yes ! but that is merely the 
part of a Court jester. To amuse the prince, to amuse 
the people the same thing. Where is the difference 
between the poet following the Court and the poet fol- 
lowing the crowd ? Marot in the sixteenth century, 
Stranger in the nineteenth ; but, man cher, it may be the 
same man. I do not consent to it. I lend myself to it 
as little as possible. They make a mistake about me. I 
am a man of opinion, and not of party. Oh, I hate their 
popularity! I am very much afraid that our poor Lamar- 
tine is going in for this popularity. T pity him. He 
will see what it is. Hugo, I have some common-sense. 


I tell you, be content with the popularity you have; it 
is true, it is real. Now, I will give you another experi- 
ence of mine. In 1829, when I was in La Force on ac- 
count of my songs, how popular I was I There was not 
a hosier, a pastry-cook, nor a reader of the * Constitutional' 
who did not think it right to come to console me in my 
cell. ' Let us go and see Bdranger ! ' They came. And 
I, who was in the mood to muse upon the silliness of 
poets, or was seeking for a refrain or a rhyme between 
the bars of my window, was obliged, instead of finding 
my verse, to receive my hosier! Poor devil popular- 
ity ! I was not left alone in my prison. Oh, if it were 
to happen again ! How they did bore me ! " 

Chatting thus, we reached the Eue Mazarine and the 
door of the Institut, whither I was bound. 

It was the Academic day. 

" Won't you come in ? " I asked my companion. 

" Oh no, indeed ! That is for you to do." 

And he ran away. 

December SO. 

They wished to make me a director of the Acad^mie. 
I declined. They named Scribe. I said, "So long as 
the Acaddmie chooses to keep one of its members 'in the 
corner/ I will keep company with that member " (M. de 

They would not nominate M. de Vigny either as direc- 
tor or chancellor, because of his dispute with M. Mold. 



December 81. 

THIS lugubrious year, which opened on a Friday, 
finishes on a Friday. 

When I awoke, I was informed of the death of Mme. 

At three o'clock the Peers proceeded to the palace to 
offer the king their condolence. We were a large as- 
semblage. The chancellor was there in his robes, with 
the antique three-cornered hat of the chancellors embel- 
lished with an enormous gold tassel. Lagrende, Mornay, 
Villemain, Barante ; Generals Scbastiani, Lagrange ; the 
Duke of Broglie and M. de Markau, just appointed Ad- 
miral of France, were all present, with others. 

The king received the Peers in the throne-room ; he 
was dressed in black, without any decorations, and was 
in tears. The Duke of Nemours, M. de Joinville and 
M. de Montpensier, were in black, without star or rib- 
bon, like the king. The queen, the Duchess of Orleans, 
Mesdames de Joinville and Montpensier were in deep 

The king came near to me, and said, "I thank M. 
Victor Hugo ; he always comes to me on sad occasions." 
Tears choked his utterance. 

What a blow this is for the king ! His sister was a 
friend to him. She was a woman of intelligence and 
good counsel, who fell into the king's views without 
ever upsetting them. Mme. Adelaide had something 
manly and cordial about her, with considerable tact. 
She had conversational powers. I remember one even- 
ing she conversed with me for a long while, and intelli- 
gently, respecting the " Ranc3 " of M. de Chateaubriand, 


which was on the eve of publication. My dear little 
Didine went with her mother one day to see her. Mme. 
Adelaide gave her a doll. My daughter, who was then 
seven years old, came back delighted. Some days after- 
wards she happened to hear a great discussion respecting 
the Philippists and the Carlists. All the while playing 
with her doll, she said, in a low voice, "I am an 

So I have been an Ad&aidist also. The death of this 
amiable old princess has caused me real grief. 

She died in three days from inflammation of the lungs, 
which supervened upon an attack of influenza. On 
Monday she attended the royal party. Who could have 
said that she would never see 1848 ? 

Almost every morning the king had a long conversa- 
tion, principally upon political matters, with Mme. Ad- 
laide. He consulted her upon everything, and never 
undertook any serious matter contrary to her advice. 
He regarded the queen as his guardian angel : one might 
say that Mme. Adelaide was his guiding spirit What a 
loss this is for an old man ! A void in the heart, in the 
house, in his habits. I was pained to see him shed tears. 
One felt that the sobs came from the bottom of the 
man's heart. 

Her sister never left her. She had shared her exile, 
she partook in a measure of her state : she lived devoted 
to her brother, wrapped up in him ; for egotism she had 
the / of Louis-Philippe. 

She made M. de Joinville her heir ; Odilon Barrot and 
Dupin are her executors. 

The Peers quitted the Tuileries in great consternation 
in consequence of all this sorrow, and uneasy regarding 
the shock the king had received. 

This evening all the theatres are closed. 

Thus ends the year 1847. 


Fwas M. Cr^mieux who said to King Louis-Philippe 
these sad words : " Sire, you must leave Paris." 

The king had already abdicated. The fatal signature 
had been written. He looked fixedly at M. Crdmieux. 

The sharp firing in the Palais Royal was audible, the 
Municipal Guards of the Chateau d'Eau were attacking 
the barricades in the Rue de Valois and the Eue Saint- 

Every moment wild shouts arose and drowned the re- 
ports of the musketry. It was evident that the populace 
was coming on the scene. From the Palais Royal to the 
Tuileries it is but a pace for the giant who is called 

M. Cr^mieux extended his hand in the direction of the 
ominous shouts which came from without, and repeated 
his warning : " Sire, you must leave." 

The king, without saying a word in reply, and without 
taking his eyes off of M. Cr&nieux, took off his general's 
hat, which he handed to some one beside him at random, 
doffed his uniform bearing the heavy silver epaulets, 
and said, without rising from the great arm-chair in 
which he had reclined, as if exhausted, for several hours, 

" A round hat, a frock-coat." 

They brought them. In an instant he was nothing 
but an elderly tradesman. 

Then he cried in a hasty tone, " My keys, my keys ! " 

PortraH of Louis Philippe. 

Steel Engraving by Gontttere, From Drawing 
by Philippoteaux. 


The keys were not forthcoming. 

Meanwhile the noise increased ; the firing seemed to be 
approaching ; the terrible uproar increased. 

The king kept repeating, " My keys, my keys ! " 

At length the keys were found and brought to him. 
He locked a portfolio which he carried in his arms, and a 
still larger portfolio which his valet took charge of. He 
displayed a kind of feverish agitation. All was hurry- 
skurry around him. The princes and the valets could be 
heard calling out, "Quick, quick! " The queen alone was 
cool and proud. 

They started. They traversed the Tuileries. The king 
gave his arm to the queen, or, to speak more correctly, 
the queen gave her arm to the king. The Duchess of 
Montpensier was supported by M. Jules de Lasteyrie, the 
Duke of Montpensier by M. Cr^mieux. 

The Duke of Montpensier said to M. Cr^mieux, " Re- 
main with us, M. Cr^mieux; do not leave us. Your 
name may be useful to us." 

In this manner they reached the Place de la R&volu- 
tion. There the king turned pale. 

He looked out for the four carriages which he had com- 
manded from his stables. They were not there. 

At the entrance to the stables the driver of the first 
carriage had been shot, and at the time the king was 
seeking them in the Place Louis XV. the people were 
burning them in the Place du Palais Royal 

At the foot of the obelisk a small hackney carriage 
with one horse was stopped. 

The king walked rapidly on, followed by the queen. 

In the carriage were four women holding four children 
on their knees. 

The four ladies were Mesdames de Nemours and de 
Joinville, and two ladies of the Court The four children 
were the king's grandsons. 


The king quickly opened the door, and said to the four 
ladies, "Get out, all of you, all of you." 

He only spoke these words. 

The firing became more and more alarming. They 
could hear the surging of the mob entering the Tuileries. 

In the twinkling of an eye the four ladies were stand- 
ing on the pavement, the same pavement whereon the 
scaffold of Louis XVI. had been erected. 

The king mounted or rather plunged into the empty 
carriage, the queen followed him; Mme. de Nemours 
mounted in front. The king still retained his portfolio 
under his arm. He caused the larger, a green one, to be 
placed within the cab. This was with some difficulty 
accomplished. M. Crdrnieux pushed it in with his fist 

" Go on," said the king. 

The cab started. They took the Neuilly road. 

Thuret, the king's valet, mounted behind. But he 
could not hold to the bar which occupied the place of a 
bracket-seat, and he attempted to bestride the horse, but 
ended by running on foot. The carriage passed him. 

Thuret ran as far as Saint-Cloud, thinking to find the 
king there; but he found that he had proceeded to 

At that moment the Princess Clementine and her 
husband, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg, arrived by railway. 

* Quick, madame," said Thuret ; " let us take the train 
and go to Trianon. The king is there." 

It was in this manner that Thuret proceeded to rejoin 
the king. 

Meanwhile, at Versailles, the king had succeeded in 
procuring a berline and a kind of omnibus. He occu- 
pied the carriage with the queen ; his suite, the omnibus. 
They hired post-horses, and set out for Dreux. 

As he continued his journey the king took off his false 
hair and put on a cap of black silk, which he pulled 


down to his eyes. His beard had not been trimmed 
since the previous day. He had had no sleep. He was 
unrecognizable. He turned to the queen, who said, " You 
look a hundred years old." 

There are two roads to Dreux : that to the right is the 
better, well paved, and is the road generally taken ; the 
other is full of ruts, and is the longer. 

The king said, " Postilion, take the left road." 

He did well; he was hated at Dreux. Some people 
were waiting on the high-road with hostile intentions. 
In this manner he escaped the danger. 

The sous-prefet of Dreux, who had been notified of his 
approach, joined him, and handed him twelve thousand 
francs half in notes and half in silver in bags. 

The berline left the omnibus behind to do the best 
it could, and proceeded towards Evreux, The king knew 
that about a league from the town there lived a faithful 
adherent, M. de . 

It was dark night when the carriage reached the 

Thuret descended, rang for a long time ; at last some 
one appeared. 

Thuret asked for M. de . 

He was away. It was winter. M. de was in 

His farmer, who had opened the door, explained this to 

" It does not matter,** replied Thuret " I have here 
an old lady and gentleman, friends of his, who are very 
tired. Just open the doors for us." 

" I have not got the keys," said Renard. 

The king was worn out by fatigue, suffering, and hun- 
ger. Renard saw the old man, and had compassion on him. 

"Monsieur et madame" he repeated, "pray come in. 
I cannot open the chateau for you, but I can open the 


farm-house. Come in. Meanwhile I will go in "search of 
my master at Evreux." 

The king and queen alighted. Renard conducted 
them to the lower room in the farm. There was a fine 
fire in it. The king was chilled to the bones. 

" I am very cold," he said. Then he continued, " I am 
very hungry." 

Renard said, " Monsieur, would you like some onion- 
soup ? " 

" Very much," said the king. 

They made some onion-soup, and produced the remains 
of the farm breakfast, some cold stew or other, and an 

The king and queen seated themselves at table and 
every one with them Renard, the farmer, his sons from 
the plough, and Thuret the valet. 

The king ate greedily what they gave him. The queen 
did not eat anything. 

In the midst of the repast the door opened. The new- 
comer was M. de , who had hurried out from Evreux. 

He perceived Louis- Philippe, and exclaimed, " The 
king ! " 

" Silence ! " cried the king. 

But it was too late. 

M. de reassured him. Renard was a worthy 

fellow. They might trust him. They were all people to 
be depended upon at the farm. 

" Well," said the king, " I must proceed at once. How 
shall I proceed ? " 

" Where do you wish to go to ? " asked Renard. 

" Which is the nearest seaport ? " 


"Well, then, I will make for Honfleur," 

"All right," said Renard. 

* How far is it from here ? " 


" Twenty-two leagues." 

The king was alarmed, and exclaimed, "Twenty-two 
leagues ! " 

"You will reach Honfleur to-morrow morning," said 

Eenard had a " trap " in which he was accustomed to 
go to market. He was a breeder and seller of horses. 
He harnessed a pair of strong animals to this vehicle. 

The king ensconced himself on one side, Thuret on 
the other. Eenard, as coachman, seated himself in the 
centre, a bag of corn was placed across the apron, and 
they started. 

It was seven o'clock at night. 

The queen did not leave until two hours later, in the 
carriage with the post-horses. 

The king had put the bank-notes in his pocket The 
money-bags worried him. 

" More than once the king was on the point of telling 
me to throw them away/' said Thuret to me later, when 
narrating these details. 

They passed through Evreux not without some trouble. 
At the end of the town, near St. Taurin's Church, there 
were some people collected, who stopped the carriage. 

A man seized the bridle and said, " They say the king 
is escaping this way." 

Another man held a lantern to the king's face. 

At length a sort of officer of the National Guard, who 
for some moments had been handling the harness in a 
suspicious way, cried out, "Hold there ! it is Pfere Benard ; 
I know him, citizens." 

He added, in a low voice, turning to Thuret, "I recog- 
nize your companion in the corner. Get away quickly." 

Thuret has told me since, " He spoke just in time, for, 
as I fancied he was going to cut the traces, I was about 
to stab him. I had my knife open in my hand." 


Benard whipped his horses, and they left Evreux be- 
hind them. 

They kept on all night From time to time they 
halted at the inns upon the road, and Benard baited his 

He said to Thuret, " Get down. Be as much at your 
ease as you can. Talk familiarly to me/' He also 
"tuto/ed" the king. 

The king pressed his black cap almost down upon his 
nose, and maintained a profound silence. At 7 A.M. 
they reached Honfleur. The horses had come twenty- 
two leagues, without rest, in twelve hours. They were 
knocked up. 

" It is time," said the king. 

From Honfleur the king reached Trouville. He hoped 
to conceal himself iii a house formerly occupied by M. 
Duch&tel when he caine to bathe in the vacation. But 
the house was shut up. He was obliged to take shelter 
with a fisherman. 

General Bumigny came in in the morning, and all was 
nearly lost ; an officer had recognized him on the quay. 

At length the king was ready to embark. The Provi- 
sional Government greatly assisted him. 

Nevertheless, at the last moment, a commissary of 
police wished to display his great zeal. He presented 
himself on board the vessel in which the king was, in 
sight of Honfleur and the bridge. 

Between decks he watched the old gentleman and lady 
who were seated in a corner, looking as if they were in- 
tent upon their slender baggage. However, he did not 

Suddenly the captain took out his watch, and said, " M. 
le Commissaire de Police, do you intend to remain on 
board or go ashore ? " 

" Why do you ask ? " said the commissary. 


" Because if you are not in France in fifteen minutes 
you will be in England in the morning." 

You are about to sail, then ? " 

" Immediately." 

The commissary made up his mind to leave, very dis- 
contented, and having vainly attempted to hunt down his 

The vessel sailed. 

It nearly foundered within sight of Honfleur. It col- 
lided, the weather being bad and the night dark, with a 
large ship, which carried away a portion of the mast and 
bulwarks. These injuries were repaired as well as possi- 
ble, and the next morning the king and queen were in 


invasion of the 15th of May was a curious 
sight. Let the reader picture the confusion in 
the Senate. Swarms of ragged individuals descending, 
or rather streaming, down the pillars of the lower tri- 
bunes, and even of the upper ones, into the hall, the 
thousands of flags waving in all directions ; the women 
frightened, and supplicating ; the rioters perched in the 
reporters' gallery; the crowded corridors; heads, shoul- 
ders, howling mouths, extended arms, clinched hands, 
everywhere; no one speaking, everybody yelling; the 
representatives motionless ; and this going on for three 

The president's desk, the secretary's platform, the tri- 
bune, had disappeared, and were nothing but a heap of 
men. Men were seated on the back of the president's 
chair astride on the brass griffins, standing on the sec- 

YOL. XXIT. 14 


retary's table, on the short-hand writers' desks, on the 
double staircase, on the velvet of the tribunes, the greater 
number of them with naked feet \ but to make up for 
this, they kept their heads covered. 

One of them seized and pocketed one of the two small 
clocks which were on either side of the tribune for the 
use of the editors of the " Moniteur." 

An astounding uproar! The dust hung about like 
smoke ; the noise was like thunder. Half an hour was 
consumed in making half a sentence audible. 

Blanqui, pale and cold, in the midst of it all. 

The rioters in the tribunes struck the bonnets of the 
ladies with their flag-staffs ; curiosity struggled with fear. 
The ladies stood it well for three-quarters of an hour, and 
then they took flight and disappeared. One alone re- 
mained some time longer ; she was pretty, well-dressed, 
and wore a pink bonnet ; she was in great alarm, and was 
ready to throw herself into the hall to escape the crowd 
that stifled her. 

A member, M. Duchaffaut, was taken by the throat and 
threatened with a dagger. Many other representatives 
were maltreated. 

A ring-leader, who was not of the people, a man of sin- 
ister appearance, with bloodshot eyes and a nose resem- 
bling the beak of a bird of prey, exclaimed, " To-morrow 
we will set up in Paris as many guillotines as we have 
erected trees of liberty." 



June 80. 

I WENT to the National Assembly to-day for the first 

The hall is of rare ugliness. Beams in place of col- 
umns ; partitions instead of walls ; distemper instead of 
marble ; something like the theatre of Carpentras largely 
magnified. The tribune, which bears the date of the 
days of February, resembles the musicians' platform at 
the Cafd des Aveugles. The members are seated on 
planks covered with green baize, and write on a bare 
board. In the midst of all this stands the old mahogany 
bureau of the Peers' Chamber, with its four lacquered 
brass caryatids, and its scales represented inside crowns. 

I found many ushers from the Peers' Chamber there. 
One of them gazed at me for a long time with a melan- 
choly air. 

The three first representatives who escorted me, and 
with whom I shook hands, were MM. Boulay de la 
Meurthe, Edgar Quinet, and Altaroche. 

I seated myself in the place of Dupont de 1'Eure, who 
is ill just now. 


Lamennais, with the face of a polecat and the eye of 
an eagle ; a cravat of the colour of badly-dressed cotton ; a 
frock-coat of a saffron-brown ; very large and very short 
nankeen pantaloons ; blue socks, and large shoes. The 
badge of a representative was in his button-hole. His 
voice is so weak that those present had to group them- 
selves round the tribune in order to hear what he was 
saying, and even then they heard him with difficulty. 


After the events of June, Blaise, the nephew of Lamen- 
nais, went to see his uncle, to tell him " I am quite well" 
Blaise was an officer of the National Guard. Directly 
Lamennais perceived him, he shouted, without even giv- 
ing Blaise a chance to open his mouth, " Go away ; you 
are hateful to me; you have just fired upon the poor 
people 1 " 

The mot is a fine one. 

Lamennais occupies the third place on the third bench 
on the Eadical side, in the second bay to the left of the 
president, beside Jean Beynaud. He has his hat before 
him, and, as he is small, his hat hides him. He passes 
his time trimming his nails with a penknife. 

He resided for a long while in the Quartier Beaujon, 
quite near to TWophile Gautier. Delaage visited them 
both in turn. Gautier used to say to him, speaking of 
Lamennais, " Go and see your old man in his clouds." 

Proudhou is the son of a cooper at Besan^on. He was 
born in 1805. Lately he has lived in the Rue Dauphine, 
and published his journal, the " Representative of the 
People," there. Those who had business with the editor 
went up to see him there in a species of frame, and found 
Proudhon editing in a blouse and wooden shoes. 

The Assembly has to-day heard the details of the 
Proudhon proposition from the author. 

They saw appear in the tribune a man about forty-five 
years old, fair, with little hair but ample whiskers. He 
wore a black frock-coat and waistcoat He did not speak, 
he read. He held his hands clinched upon the red velvet 
of the tribune, his manuscript between them. His voice 
is vulgar; his accent is common and hoarse; and he 
wears spectacles. 

The commencement was listened to with anxiety; then 
the Assembly exploded in laughter and comments ; then 
every one began to chatter. The Chamber began to 


empty ; and the orator ended, in the midst of inattention, 
the discourse he had commenced in a sort of fright 
Proudhon was deficient neither in talent nor in power/ 
Nevertheless, he succumbed visibly at his failure, and 
displayed none of the sublime impudence of great 

Lamennais listened to the end of Proudhon's discourse, 
with his red handkerchief pressed to his eyes as if in 


Beading of the Eeport of the Commission of Inquiry 
concerning the Days of May. 

Caussidifere, who was absent at first, arrived at half- 
past two, and seated himself in his place on the topmost 
benches. He wore a white waistcoat and a black frock-coat 

Louis Blanc was seated on the top benches beside Fer- 
dinand Gambon, and passed his hand continually through 
his hair. 

Pierre Leroux is on the third bench below Louis Blanc, 
beside Lamennais. Pierre Leroux and Lamennais have 
opera-glasses. Leroux directs his upon the public tri- 
bunes. Lamennais stoops, and seems to be reading. 
From time to time he cleans his nails and plunges his 
thumb into his snuff-box. 

Cavaignac arrives later, and seats himself with folded 
arms near M. Marie, on the ministerial benches. Lamar- 
tine is in his usual place at the end of the second lower 
bench of the second bay on the left, separated from Gamier- 
Pages by Pagnerre. Lamartine folds his arms like Cav- 
aignac : he is pale and calm in comparison with Ledru- 
Rollin, who is above him, red and agitated. Ledru-Bollin 
is a fat man, with good teeth, the ideal of Anne of Aus- 
tria. He has fat, white hands, with which he caresses 


his fringe of beard. Proudhon is seated beside Lagrange 
at the last triangular bay on the left at the end of the 
hall. The ladies of the diplomatic tribune above his 
head regard him with a kind of horror, and remark audi- 
bly, " What a monster ! " Proudhon crosses his legs, 
grey trousers, brown frock coat, and is half reclining in 
his place in such a fashion that his head is scarcely visi- 
ble over the back of the seat. Lagrange, beside him, sits 
bolt upright, his black coat tightly buttoned People 
remark his angular features, honest and bewildered. He 
has a turn-down collar and white cuffs. 

Caussidifere is often agitated during the reading of 
the report Louis Blanc asked in indignant tones to be 
allowed to speak. Caussidiere cried, " It is shameful ! " 
At the words " stupid people/' which the report attrib- 
uted to him, he cried, " Calumny ! " During the reading 
of the second part of the report Ledru-Rollin took a pen 
and made notes. The reading of the first part lasted an 

The rapporteur, Bauchart, an advocate of Saint-Quentin, 
has the voice and gesture of the procurator-general. 

During the reading of the report it was impossible for 
me not to believe that I was listening to Franck-Carr4 in 
the Court of Peers. 

Odilon Barrot ascends the staircase and leaves the 
Assembly. The tribunes remark his coat of russet-green 
and his crown of white hair, like a bishop's tonsure. 


Augnst 25. 

Did Lotus Blanc and Caussidifere participate in the events 
of May 15 and June 24 ? That is the grave question 
which the Assembly had to decide in this night's sitting. 

The tribunes are filled to overflowing ; every member is 
in his place. The eight lamps and the seven chandeliers 


are lighted. There is a rumour of an outbreak in the 
boulevards. There have been gatherings latterly in the 
gardens of the Palais Royal " Why did they not shut 
the gates ? " exclaimed M. de Champvans. They say that 
the troops are ready for mischief. The tribune has a 
sombre appearance. Eight o'clock strikes with the lugu- 
brious sound of a tocsin. The hall is insufficiently 
lighted. One can distinguish beneath the first lustre the 
venerable and bowed head of Arago ; and, near him, the 
pleasant, calm, and rigid profile of Lamartine. 

As I was crossing the floor Lamartine called me. He 
was seated, conversing with Vivien, who was standing. 
He said to me, " What do you advise ? Shall I speak 
or not ? " 

I replied, " Do not say anything. Keep silence. You 
have very little to do with it. The agitation is below. 
Remain above it" 

He replied, " That is quite my own opinion." 

" It is also mine," said Vivien. 

" So," replied Lamartine, " I will say nothing." Then, 
after a pause, he resumed, " At least, if the discussion 
does not concern me and damage me." 

I replied, " Not even in that case, believe me. Keep 
your cries of pain for the woes of France and not for our 
little worries," 

" Thank you," said Lamartine, * you are right; " and I 
returned to my place. 

Cavaignac is in his place, the first on the left of the 
ministerial bench, separated from Goudchaux and Marie 
by his hat, placed on the ministerial bench. Caussidifere 
and Ledru-Rollin have not yet arrived. 

Louis Blanc began to speak. 

During an interruption, caused by Louis Blanc compar- 


ing himself to Lamartine, Caussidifere arrived, stepped up 
to the desk of the president, and chatted with Marrast. 
Then he went to his seat. 

There was a man in his shirt-sleeves, a spectator, who 
was perched up in the very roof of the hall, near the 
opening of the lustre, and who listened and watched from 

The AbW Fayet, Bishop of Orleans, and General Lam- 
oricifere, Minister of War, come in and seat themselves on 
the ministerial bench beside MM. Goudchaux and Marie. 
Towards the conclusion of Louis Blanc's speech Colonel 
de Ludre, who came and sat beside me, and my other 
neighbour, M. Archambaut, fell asleep in the midst of 
the agitation of the Assembly. 

Louis Blanc spoke for an hour and forty minutes. He 
closed with an eloquent peroration, and with a protest 
which came from the heart. 

At ten o'clock the prefect of police, Ducoux, arrived, 
and seated himself beside Cavaignac. 

It was nearly midnight when Caussidifere appeared in 
the tribune with an enormous roll of papers, which he 
announced his intention to read. A murmur of appre- 
hension rose in the Assembly. In fact, the manuscript 
had many pages, but, as the writing was large, each page 
contained but few words : the reason for this was because 
Caussidi&re reads with difficulty, and he must have large 
letters, like a child. Caussidifere wore a single-breasted 
frock-coat, buttoned up to his necktie. His Tartar face, 
his wide shoulders, and his enormous height were in 
curious contrast with his hesitating accents and his 
awkward attitude. There are both the giant and the 
child in this man. Nevertheless, I believed he was 
mixed up in those affairs in May ; nothing has been 
proved as regards June. 


He read, among other extracts, a letter from Ledru- 
Rollin, addressed to him on the 23d of April : to him as 
prefect Ledru-Kollin, being minister. This letter ad- 
vises him concerning a conspiracy to strangle him, and 
ends with these words : " Good-night, as usual, but keep 
wide awake." 

In another moment Caussidifere, refusing to explain 
himself, exclaimed, "The national tribune was not 
instituted for the purpose of retailing tittle-tattle." 

At one o'clock in the morning, in the midst of a pro- 
found silence which fell suddenly upon the tumultuous 
assembly, the president, Marrast, read a demand to au- 
thorize the procurator-general, Cornu, to proceed against 
Louis Blanc and Caussidifere. 

This brought Louis Blanc to the tribune with an ener- 
getic protest His protest was energetic, but his voice 
had changed. 

At times shouts arose from all parts of the Chamber ; 
the spectators stood up in the tribunes. The chandeliers 
were extinguished many times, and they had to be re- 
lighted during the sitting. 

At 2.30 A. M. Lamartine left, with -bent head, and with 
his hands in his pockets. He crossed the hall from one 
end to the other. He returned an hour later. 

Just as the vetoes were about to be taken Caussidi&re, 
who did not mistake the disposition of the Assembly, 
approached the ministerial bench, and said to General 
Cavaignac, "It is decided, then?" Cavaignac replied, 
" It is my duty." " General," replied Caussidifere, " are you 
going to have me arrested here in this manner ? I have 
my mother and sisters yonder gue diable ! " 

"What do you wish me to do?" asked General 


" Give me eight and forty hours. I have business to 
attend to. I must have time to turn round." 

" Very well," replied Cavaignac ; " only arrange it with 

The Minister of Justice consented to the forty-eight 
hours, and Caussidifere took advantage of them to make 
his escape. 

At daybreak the Assembly was still sitting. The 
lights were paling. Through the windows the grey and 
murky dawn was visible. The window-curtains were 
agitated by the morning breeze. It was very cold in the 
Chamber. I could distinguish the profiles of men cast 
upon the inside cornice of the casements, which were 
thrown there by the increasing daylight. 

The voting was carried on with blue and white tickets. 
The white ones were for the accusation, the blue ones 
contrary. Each ticket, as usual, bore the name of the 
member voting. 

At the last turn I saw blue tickets put in by nearly all 
my neighbours, even M. Isambert, who was very indignant 
against the inculpated representatives. 

Urgency was voted by 493 to 292. The majority 
necessary was 393 93 thus occurring twice. 

The Assembly afterwards approved of the proceedings 
being taken. 

At six o'clock in the morning it was all over ; the ladies 
in crowds descended from the tribunes by the single 
staircase, the greater number seeking their husbands. 
Journalists called to each other in the corridors, the 
ushers chatted on business. It was stated that gen- 
darmes had been seen in the salle des pas perdus. Eyes 
were dim, faces were pale, and a magnificent sunrise 
bathed the Place de la Concorde in its beams. 


September 21. 

Two bishops spoke to-day, the Abbg Parisis, Bishop 
of Langres, and the Abb Fayet, Bishop of Orleans. The 
question was the freedom of instruction. 

The Abb Parisis, a man of ruddy coim&enanoe,with 
great round blue goggle-eyes, carries his fifty-five years 
with an air which savours more of ecclesiastical gravity 
and official humility than of gravity and humility pure. 
He spoke from memory, with some pomposity, a few 
sentences, which were received with cries of " Trh bien ! " 
The effect of the cassock in the tribune is diverse : with 
Parisis it inspires respect, with the AbW Fayet it carries 
laughter. The AbW Fayet is an easy-going man, a reg- 
ular " lady-bird," more like a cockchafer than a bishop. 
In the Assembly he goes from bench to bench, sitting in 
the ushers' chairs, laughing with the Blues, with the 
Whites, with the Keds ; laughing with every one, and get- 
ting laughed at by every one. He wears a skull-cap of 
black velvet ; his white hairs make him venerable in spite 
of himself. He has Gascon accent ; and he ascends the 
tribune using an enormous coloured handkerchief, which 
has all the appearance of an invalid's. They laugh at him. 
He says, in exaggerated phrase, that the great danger of 
the period is the romantic school. (Laughter.) He pro- 
poses an amendment. (Laughter.) "Is it supported?' 
" No, no ! " He descends, and blows his nose. (Laughter. 
Such are our two bishops 1 


M. Armand Marrast, who is, by the way, a man of 
sense, and, I believe, a brave man, before he edited the 
"Tribune," then the "National," had been master in a 
school, I do not know which, Louis le Grand, I 
believe. On the day he was elected president of the 
Assembly people said of him, " Poor Marrast ! He presi- 


dent of the National Assembly with his little thin 
voice and his mean air ! He, that old usher ! He will 
soon go to the bottom." Not at all! M. Marrast has 
proved a remarkable president 

Why ? Precisely because he had been a school-master. 
He found that the habits of an usher fitted precisely the 
president of an assembly. " Silence, gentlemen ! " " Mr. 
So-and-So, go to your seat!" "Pass, pass, pass" (the 
paper-knife slapping the table). " Monsieur de la Eoche- 
jacquelin, I only hear you!" "Messieurs les Minis- 
ters, you are talking so loud that one cannot hear 
anything!" And so on. 

This is very simple. School-boys or men, it is all the 
same, because there is already something of the man in 
the school-boy, and there is always the school-boy in 
the man. 


February 9. 

"V7ESTEEDAY, Thursday, as I was leaving the Acadtf- 
1 mie, where we had been discussing the word 
accompagner, I heard my name pronounced in the court 

" Monsieur Hugo, Monsieur Hugo ! " 

I turned round. It was M. Pasquier. 

" Are you going to the Assembly ? " 


" May I take you there ? " 

" With pleasure, Monsieur le Chancelier." 

I got into the carriage, which was a small brougham, 
lined with grey velvet. He made a great dog, which 
was there, lie down under his feet, and then we chatted. 

" How are your eyes, M. le Chancelier ? " 

" Bad, very bad." 

"Is it cataract?" 

" Which is thickening. Well, I am like the govern- 
ments I am becoming blind." 

I said, laughing, " Perhaps that is in consequence of 
having governed." 

He took the affair very well, and replied with a smile : 

" It is not only myself who is going, it is every one. 
You are all more ill than I am. I am eighty-two years 
old, but you are a hundred. This republic, born in 
February last, is more decrepit than I, who am no more 
than an old fellow, and will be dead before I think of 


dying. What things have I seen pass awayl I shall 
see that go too." 

As he was in the vein I let him proceed. I en- 
couraged his reminiscences. " It seems to me that I am 
hearing the past judging the present" He continued : 

"Who said that about universal suffrage? It is the 
scourge which has been our safety ; our only fear a year 
ago, our only hope to-day. Providence has His own 
ways. I have never been religious, I am a little bitten 
by Voltaire ; but before the things which are coming, I 
may say my Credo like an old woman." 

" And your Confiteor a little also," I remarked. 

" Oh, yes ! You are right ; nostra culpa, nostra maxima 
culpa. What a year 1847 was ! How 1847 led up to 
1848! Take only our Chamber of Peers Teste and 
Cubi&res condemned for corruption. The word pick- 
pocket attached to the epaulets of a general, and the word 
thief to the robe of the president. And, then, Count 
Bresson also cut his throat. The Prince of Eckmuhl 
stabbed his mistress, an old prostitute, who was not 
worth a kick. Count Mortier killed his children. The 
Duke of Praslin murdered his wife. Is not there a fatal- 
ity in all this ? The upper class of society staggering 
the lower. Hold! the populace we have never di- 
vested them of the idea that we poisoned the Duke of 
Praslin, Thus the accused murderer and his poisoning 
judges is the idea which is generally 'received of all this 
affair. Others believe that we have saved this wretched 
duke, and that we have substituted a corpse in his place. 
There are people who declare that Praslin is in London. 
He is there enjoying a hundred thousand a year with 
Mile, de Luzzy. It is with all this gossip and chatter 
that they undermine the old worm-eaten world. Now 
this is done with. They have not gained much by it 
All these follies have been launched at once. It's all the 


same. I believe that 1847 has left a more sad impres- 
sion than 1848. All those horrible trials. The Teste 
case. I do not see it any more clearly now. I was 
obliged to read all the documents, to have always behind 
me M. de la Chauvinifere to be my eyes when I could no 
longer use my own. You can imagine how tiresome it 
is. Nothing is so wearing to the mind. I do not know 
how I managed to preside over the affair. And those six 
last hours over the Duke of Praslin. What a sight ! Ah, 
you tragic poet, who seek for horror and for pity you 
had them there ! That unhappy man, from whom every- 
thing departed at once, who writhed in a double agony, 
who had poison in his body and remorse in his souL It 
was horrible. He renounced everything, and would have 
attached himself to all. Occasionally he bit his hand 
in agony; he looked at us and watched us with a fixed 
stare; he seemed to be asking for life and demanding 
death. I have never beheld such terrible despair. The 
poison he swallowed was such as to increase his strength 
at the last, one which gave him extra vitality while it 
consumed him. As he was dying I said to Mm, ' Con- 
fess, in pity to yourself. Are you guilty ? * He looked 
at me in fear, and replied faintly, 'No/ That was a 
fearful moment. He had a lie on his lips and truth in 
his eyes. Oh, I would you had been there, M. Hugo ! 
But all is over now. The other day I had an idea of 
going to see the Luxembourg." 

He paused. 1 said, " Well ? " 

"Well, they have spoiled it; all is rebuilt, that is to 
say, all is defaced. I did not enter the palace ; but I 
saw the garden. Everything is topsy-turvy. They have 
made walks in the nursery, English alleys in the nur- 
sery-ground ! Can you understand that? It is folly ! " 

"Yes," I said, "it is characteristic of the time; small 
follies are mingled with great ones/' 


We had got so far when the carriage stopped at the 
entrance to the Assembly. I got out. We had only 
time to exchange our addresses. 

" Where do you live now, M. Hugo ? " 

"No. 37, Rue de la Tour d'Auvergne. And you, 
monsieur ? " 

" No. 20, Kue Royale." 

" By the way," he said, as he shut the door, " it is still 
called Rue Royale." 



MLLE GEOEGES came to me the other day and 
said, " I have come to you. I am in the last ex- 
tremity. What you have said about Antonin Moyne has 
pained me greatly. I assure you that one of these morn- 
ings misfortune will overtake me. I have been to Boulay 
de la Meurthe ; he was coming to breakfast with me when 
I had Harel. He denied himself to me ; he would not re- 
ceive me. He is a miser. He is very rich, as you may 
imagine. Well, he would play himself for a copper, and 
then cut it in quarters. I have been to see Jerome. He 
received me. He said, ' What do you want, Georgina ? ' 
I replied, ' I want nothing. I believe I am still richer 
than you, although I have not the sou. But walk before 
me ; hold yourself up ; it seems to me that I can per- 
ceive a little of the emperor. It is all I require.' He 
laughed, and replied, ' You are right ; I am poorer than 
you. You have no money, but you can eat potatoes. 
But I have not a sou, and I must eat with people who 
have truffles. Fancy, they send me candles by dozens of 
pounds, and send me an account They say, " Beg." But 


I reply, " I am accustomed to command, and not to en- 
treat" ' Monsieur Hugo, so much for Jdrdme ! As for 
the President, he is a simpleton. I detest him. In the 
first place, he is very ugly. He rides and drives well ; 
that 's all. I went to him. He replied he could not see 
me. When he was only poor Prince Louis he received 
me in the Place Vendome for two hours in succession, 
and made me look at the column. The fool ! He has an 
English mistress, a pretty blonde, who leads him all kinds 
of dances. I do not know whether he is aware of it, but 
everybody else is. He goes to the Champs- lyses in a 
little carriage which he drives himself. He will be up- 
set some day by his horses, or by the people. I told 
Jerome I detested that soi-disant nephew of his. Jerome 
put his hand on iny mouth, and said, ' Hold your tongue, 
stupid.' I said, ' He speculates. Achille Fould sees him 
there daily in the crowd, bulling and bearing. That is 
safe for the last affairs of Piedmont. I know it.' Jerome 
said to me, ' Don't talk of such things. Such chatter as 
that ruined Louis-Philippe.' What is Louis-Philippe to 
me, M. Hugo ? He never did anything for HareL That 
is the truth. I am in misery. I plucked up courage, 
and went to call on Rachel Mile. Rachel to ask her 
to play " Eodogune " with me on my benefit. She did not 
admit me, and requested me to write. Oh, certainly not ! 
I have not got to that yet I am a queen of the theatre 
as well as she, and one day she will be a poor old pauper 
like me. Well, I will not write to her. I will not ask 
for alms from her. I will not wait in her ante-chamber. 
But she does not remember that she was once a beggar. 
She does not think what she will come to. A mendicant 
in the caffa, M. Hugo, she sang, and they threw her cop- 
pers. Good. Now she plays lansquenet with V&ron for 
a louis, and wins or loses ten thousand francs a night 
But in thirty years she will not have six liards, and she 

VOL. XXIV. 16 


will walk in the gutter with holes in Her shoes. In 
thirty years she will not call herself Rachel as easily as 
I call myself Georges. She will find that some child with 
talent and youth will take her place, will distance her, 
and she will lie down. She will be played out ; and the 
proof of this is because she is insolent. No, I will not 
go. No, I will not write to her. I have nothing to eat, 
it is true. Toto earns nothing. He has a place in the 
President's household which does not bring him anything. 
I have a sister you know Babelle ? to take care of. 
Hostein would not engage her at the Historique the 
Th^fitre Historique for fifteen hundred francs. I have 
been to Boulay's house, to the President, to Rachel's, and 
found no one except you. I owe ten francs to my porter. 
I was obliged to pawn and sell the diamond buttons 
which the Emperor gave me. I play at the Thdfttre 
Saint-Marcel ; I play at the Batignolles ; I play at the 
banlieiie, and 1 have not money to pay a cab. Well, no ; 
I will not write to Rachel I would rather drown 



January 14. 

ALFEED DE VIGNY and I have frustrated the elec- 
tion at the Academic. 

Empis and Victor Leclerc were proposed. We would 
have neither of them. We put in white tickets. 

There were thirty-four voters ; majority, eighteen 
voices. There were five ballots. M. Empis had fifteen 
votes, M. Leclerc sixteen. There were votes given at 
times to MM. femile Deschamps, Lamennais, Alfred de 
Musset, and B^ranger. With our two votes we could 
decide the election. We stood firm. It is necessary to 
have another, and it is postponed for a month ! 

At the first turn, when the two white tickets were 
announced, M. Flourens said, " There are two votes lost" 

I replied, " Lost, you say ! Put out at interest ! " My 
intention is to make one of the two parties come to an 
arrangement with us, who are the make-weights, and to 
nominate Balzac or Dumas in exchange for our votes. In 
this way I got Alfred de Vigny nominated two years 

Just so I took to task Dupin upon Balzac. He inter- 
rupted me. 

" Diable ! Dialle ! You would have Balzac enter the 
Academic unopposed at the first attempt, like that! 
You quote as examples Patin, Saint-Marc Girardin ; Sri* 
faut; but they prove nothing. Eeflect now. Balzac 
pitchforked into the Acaddmie ! You have not reflected." 

" Is it possible ? But you do not think of one thing : 
he deserves it ! ' 



ON the 18th of August, 1850, my wife, who had been 
during the day to see Mme. de Balzac, told me 
that Balzac was dying. I hurried to him. 

M. de Balzac had been suffering for eighteen months 
from hypertrophy of the heart. After the revolution of 
February he went to Kussia, and there married. Some 
days before his departure I met him in the boulevard. 
He was then complaining, and breathing noisily. In May, 
1850, he returned to France, married, rich, and dying! 
When he arrived, his legs were already swollen. Four 
doctors held a consultation. One of them, M. Louis, told 
me on the 6th of July, " He has not six weeks to live." 
It is the same disease that killed Frederic Souli& 

On August 18th my uncle, General Louis Hugo, was 
dining with me. As soon as the table was cleared I left, 
and took a cab to the Avenue FortunSe (No. 14), in the 
Quartier Beaujon, where M. de Balzac lived. He had 
purchased what remained of the mansion of M. de Beau- 
jon, some portion having escaped demolition. He had 
furnished it magnificently, and made it a very pretty 
little house, having a carriage entrance in the Avenue For- 
tune, and for garden a long and narrow court, in which 
the pavement was here and there cut into flower-beds. 

I rang. The moon was up, but obscured by clouds. 
The street was deserted. No one came. I rang again. 
The door opened. A servant appeared with a candle. 
* What do you want, sir ? " she asked. She was crying. 

I told her my name. She ushered me into a room on 
the ground-floor, in which, on a console opposite the 
?himney-piece, was a colossal bust of Balzac by David. 
& wax candle was burning upon a splendid table in the 


centre of the salon, and which had for feet six statuettes, 
gilt with the purest gold. 

Another woman, who was also crying, came and said, 
" He is dying. Madame has gone to her own room. The 
doctors have not been here since yesterday. He has a 
wound in the left leg. Gangrene has set in. The doctors 
do not know what to do ; they say that the dropsy is a 
couennous dropsy, an infiltration. That is what they 
call it ; that the skin and the flesh are like lard, and that 
it is impossible to tap him. Last month, when going to 
bed, master ran against a decorated piece of furniture and 
tore the skin of his leg, and all the water in the body ran 
out The doctors were much astonished, and since then 
they have made puncturations. They said, ' Imitate nature/ 
But an abscess of the limb has supervened. M. Roux oper- 
ated. Yesterday they removed the dressing; the wound, 
instead of having suppurated, was red, dry, and burning. 
Then they said, ' He is lost/ and they have never re- 
turned. Four or five have been sent for in vain. Every one 
said, * It is no use. 1 He had a bad night. This morning 
at nine Monsieur could not speak. Madame sent for a 
priest; he came, and has given Monsieur extreme unction. 
One hour after he shook the hand of his sister, Madame 
de Surville. Since eleven o'clock the rattle has been in 
his throat, and he can see no longer. He will not live 
through the night If you wish, sir, I will go and look 
for M. de Surville, who has not yet retired." 

The woman left me. I waited for some minutes. The 
candle scarcely lighted the room, its splendid furniture 
and fine pictures by Porbus and Holbein. The marble 
bust shows back vaguely in the gloom like the spectre of 
the man who was dying. A corpse-like smell pervaded 
the house. 

M. de Surville entered and confirmed all that the 
had said. I requested to see M- de Balzac, 


We proceeded along a corridor, ascended a staircase 
covered with red carpet and laden with objects of art 
vases, statues, pictures, credence-tables and then an- 
other corridor, and I perceived an open door. I heard a 
loud and sinister rattling noise. I was in the death- 
chamber of Balzac. 

A bed stood in the middle of the room, a mahogany 
bedstead having a suspensory arrangement at the head 
and foot for the convenience of moving the invalid. M. 
de Balzac was in this bed, his head supported on a pile 
of pillows, to which had been added the red damask 
cushions from the sofa. His face was purple, almost 
black, and drawn to the right side ; his beard untrimmed, 
his grey hair cut short, his eyes fixed and open. I saw 
him in profile, and thus he resembled the Emperor. 

An old woman, the nurse, and a man-servant stood at 
each side of the bed ; a candle was burning behind the 
head of the bed upon a table, another upon the drawers 
near the door. A silver vase was placed on the night- 
table. This man and this woman stood silent in fear, 
and listened to the dying rattle of the invalid. 

The candle behind the bed lighted up brightly the 
portrait of a young man, ruddy and smiling, hanging 
near the fireplace. 

An unsupportable smell issued from the bed. I lifted 
the counterpane and took the hand of Balzac. It was 
clammy. I pressed it He did not respond to the 

This was the same room in which I had come to see 
him a month previously. He was then cheerful, full of 
hope, having no doubt of his recovery, showing his 
swelled limb, and laughing. We had a long conversation 
and a political dispute. He called me his demagogue. 
He was a Legitimist He said to me, " How have you so 
quietly renounced the title of Peer of France, the best 


after that of King of France ?" He also said, "I have 
the house of M. de Beaujon without the garden, but with 
the seat in the little church at the corner of the street 
A door in my staircase opens into this church, one turn 
of the key and I can hear Mass. I think more of the 
seat than of the garden." When I was about to leave 
him he conducted me to this staircase with difficulty, 
and showed me the door, and then he called out to his 
wife, " Mind you show Hugo all my pictures." 

The nurse said to me, " He will die at daybreak." 

I came downstairs again, bearing in mind the livid 
face. Crossing the dining-room, I found the bust immov- 
able, impassible, haughty, vaguely radiant, and I com- 
pared death with immortality. 

When I reached home it was Sunday. I found many 
people awaiting me, among others Riza-Bey, the Turkish 
Chargd d'Aflaires, Navarette the Spanish poet, and the 
Count Arrivabene, the exiled Italian. I said to them, 
"Gentlemen, Europe is on the point of losing a great 

He died in the night. He was fifty-one years old. 

They buried him on Wednesday. 

He lay first in the Beaujon Chapel, and he was carried 
thither by the door, the key of which was more precious 
to him than all the beautiful gardens of the former 
" Fermier G&i&aL" 

Giraud took his portrait on the very day of his death. 
They wished to mould his mask, but could not ; decom- 
position was too rapid. The day after his death, in the 
morning, the modellers who came found his face de- 
formed and the nose fallen upon the cheek. They put 
him in an oak and lead coffin. 

The service was performed at Saint-Philippe du Eotde. 
As I stood by the coffin I remembered that there my 
tecond daughter had been baptized, and I had not been 


in the church since. In our memories death touches 

The Minister of the Interior, Baroche, came to the 
funeral He was seated by me in church, near the bier, 
and from time to time he spoke to me. He said, " He 
was a distinguished man." I replied, "He was a genius." 

The procession traversed Paris and went by way of the 
boulevards to Pfere la Chaise. A few drops of rain fell 
when we were leaving the church and when we reached 
the cemetery. It was one of those days on which it 
seems that the heavens must shed tears. 

We walked all the way. 1 proceeded in front of the 
coffin, holding one of the silver tassels of the pall ; Alex- 
andre Dumas was on the other side. 

When we came to the grave, which was some distance 
up the hill, we found an immense crowd. The road was 
rough and narrow; the horses had some difficulty in 
pulling the hearse, which rolled back again. I found 
myself imprisoned between a wheel and a tomb, and was 
very nearly crushed. The spectators who were standing 
on the tomb helped me up. 

The coffin was lowered into the grave, which is close 
to those of Charles Nodier and of Casimir Delavigne. 
The priest said the last prayer, and I spoke a few words. 
As I was speaking the sun set. All Paris appeared in 
the distance enveloped in the splendid haze of the setting 
orb. The earth began to fall into the grave almost at 
my feet, and I was interrupted by the dull sound of this 
earth dropping on the coffin. 


"WESTEKDAY, the 20th of October, 1853, contrary to 

I. my custom, I went into the town in the evening. 
I had written two letters, one to Schoelcher in London, 
the other to Samuel in Brussels, and I wished to post 
them myself. I was returning by moonlight, about half- 
past nine, when, as I was passing the place which we 
call Tap et Flac, a kind of small square opposite Gosset 
the grocer's, an affrighted group approached me. 

They were four refugees, Math, a representative of 
the people ; Eattier, a lawyer ; Hayes, called Sans-Couture, 
a cobbler; and Henry, called little Father Henry, of 
whose profession I am ignorant. 

" What is the matter with you ? " I said, seeing them 
greatly agitated. 

"We are going to execute a man," said Mathd, as he 
waved a roll of paper which he held in his hand. 

Then they rapidly gave me the following details. 
Having retired since May from the society of refugees, 
and living in the country, all these facts were new to me. 

In the month of April last a political refugee landed 
in Jersey. The innkeeper Beauvais, who is a generous- 
hearted fellow, was walking on the quay when the 
packet came alongside. He saw a man pale, exhausted, 
and in rags carry a little bundle. " Who are you ? " said 
Beauvais. "A refugee/' "What is your name?" 
" Hubert/' Where are you going ? " "I <Jo not know," 


" You have no inn ?" "I have no money." "Come home 
with me." 

Beauvais took Hubert to his house, which is No. 20 
Don Street. 

Hubert was a man of about fifty, with white hair and 
black moustache. His face was marked with small-pox. 
His appearance was robust, his eye intelligent. He said 
he had been a school-master and a surveyor. He came 
from the department of the Eure ; he had been exiled on 
the 2d of December. He reached Brussels, where he 
came to see me ; driven from Brussels, he went to Lon- 
don, and in London he lived in the last stage of misery. 
He had lived five months, five winter months, in what 
they call a Sociale, a sort of dilapidated hall, the doors 
and windows of which permit draughts, and the roof ad- 
mits the rain. He had slept the two first months side 
by side with Bourillon, another refugee, on the stone 
floor in front of the fireplace. 

These men lay on the flags without mattress or cover- 
ing, without even a handful of straw, their wet, ragged 
clothes on their bodies. There was no fire. It was not 
till the end of the two months that Louis Blanc and 
Ledru-Rollin had given them some money to buy coal. 
When these men had some potatoes they boiled them and 
dined ; when they had none they ate nothing at all 

Hubert, without money or bed, almost without shoes 
or clothing, lived there, slept on the stone, shivered con- 
tinually, ate seldom, and never complained. He took his 
large share of the general suffering stoically, impassible, 
and in silence. He was a member of the Delegation 
Society ; then he had quitted it, saying, " Fdlix Pyat is 
no socialist." Afterwards he joined the Revolutionary 
Society ; but he left it, declaring that Ledru-Eollin was 
not a Republican. 

On the 14th of September, 1852, the Prefect of the 


Eure wrote to him to agree to send in his submission. 
Hubert answered the prefect in a letter very outspoken, 
and full, as regards his " Emperor," of the coarsest terms, 
such as clique, canaille, miserable. He showed this letter, 
dated the 24th of September, to all the refugees he met, 
and posted it up in the room where the members of the 
^Revolutionary Society used to meet 

On the 5th of February he saw his name in the 
"Moniteur" among the pardoned. Hubert was filled 
with indignation, and instead of returning to France he 
went to Jersey, declaring that there were better Re- 
publicans there than in London. So it came to pass that 
he disembarked at St. Heliers. 

When he reached Beauvais's house, Beauvais showed 
him a room, 

" I told you I had no money," said Hubert. " It is all 
the same," said Beauvais. " Give me a corner and a truss 
of straw in the granary." " I will give you my room and 
my bed in preference," said Beauvais. 

At meal-time Hubert did not wish to take his place at 
table. Many refugees were living in Beauvais's house, 
where they breakfasted and dined for thirty-five francs a 

" I have not thirty-five sous," said Hubert u Give me 
a morsel at once. I will eat it at a corner of the kitchen- 

Beauvais was annoyed. "By no means," he said; 
"you will dine with us, citizen." "And pay you " 
"When you can." "Never, perhaps." "Well, then, 
never." 9 

Beauvais procured for Hubert some pupils in the town, 
to whom he taught grammar and arithmetic, and with 
the produce of these lessons he compelled him to buy a 
coat and some shoes. "I have shoes," said Hubert 
"Yes, you have shoes, but they have not any soles." 


The refugees were moved at seeing Hubert's condition, 
and they assigned to him the ordinary assistance allotted 
to the necessitous who had no wife or child, namely, 
seven francs a week. With that and his lessons he 
existed. He had no more. Many people, Gaffney among 
others, offered him money, but he never would accept it. 
" No," he would say ; " there are people more unfortunate 
than I." 

He made himself very useful in Beauvais's house, 
occupying the least possible room, rising from the table 
before dinner was over, drinking no wine or brandy, and 
refusing to have his glass filled. For the rest, he was an 
ardent communist, did not recognize any chief, declared 
the Eepublic was betrayed by Louis Blanc, Fdlix Pyat, 
and Ledru-Rollin ; by me, proclaiming at the fall of 
Napoleon, whom he always called Badinguet, a six 
months' massacre to finish up with ; compelling, by force 
of suffering and sternness, even from those who avoided 
him, a kind of respect, having about him some inde- 
scribable token of rough honesty. A moderate said of 
him to an enthusiast, " He is worse than Kobespierre." 
The other replied, " He is better than Marat." 

Now the mask was about to fall. The man was a spy. 

The fact was discovered in this wise. 

Hubert, among the refugees, had an intimate friend 
named Hayes. One day, in the beginning of September, 
he took Hayes aside, and said to him, in a low and 
mysterious tone, " I am going away to-morrow/ 1 " You 
going away ? " " Yes." " Where are you going to ? " " To 
France/' " What, to France ?" "To Paris/' "To Paris?" 
" They expect me there." " What for ? " " For a blow." 
" How will you enter France ? " "I have a passport." 
"From whom?" "From the consul." "In your own 
name?" "In my own name." "That is very odd." 
" YOU forget that I was pardoned in February." " That '$ 


trae ; and the money ? " "I have some." " How much ? " 
" Twenty francs." " Are you going all the way to Paris 
with twenty francs ? " " As soon as I reach Saint-Malo 
I will go as I can, on foot, if necessary. If necessary 
I will not eat anything. I will go straight on by the 
shortest way." 

Instead of taking the shortest, he took the longest 
way. From Saint-Malo he went to Rennes, from Rennes 
to Nantes, from Nantes to Angers, from Angers to Paris, 
by the railway. He took six days on the journey. As 
he proceeded he saw in every town the democratic 
leaders, Bou at Saint-Malo, Roche, Dr. Gudpin and 
the Mangins at Nantes; Bioteau at Angers. He an- 
nounced himself everywhere as being on a mission from 
the refugees of Jersey, and he easily gained assistance 
everywhere. He neither hid nor displayed his poverty ; 
people could see it. At Angers he borrowed fifty francs 
from Eioteau, not having enough to go to Paris. 

From Angers he wrote to a woman with whom he had 
lived in Jersey, one M^lanie Simon, a seamstress, lodging 
at No. 5, Hill Street, and who had actually lent him 
thirty-two francs for his journey. She had concealed 
this money from Hayes. He told this woman that she 
might write to him to No. 38, Rue de Tficole de 
M^decine ; that he did not lodge there, but he had a 
friend who would forward his letters. 

Arrived in Paris he went to see Goudchaux ; he found, 
one knows not how, the dwelling of Boisson, the agent of 
the Ledru-Rollin faction. The said Boisson lived con- 
cealed in Paris. He presented himself to Boisson as an 
envoy from us, the refugees of Jersey, and entered into 
all the combinations of the party called the Party of 

Towards the end of September he disembarked in 
Jersey from the steamer "Rose." The day after his 


arrival he took Hayes aside and declared that a blow was 
about to be struck, and that if he, Hubert, had arrived 
some days sooner in Paris, the blow would have been 
struck then ; that his advice, which had almost been ac- 
cepted, had been to blow up a railway bridge while 
Badinguet's train was passing ; that men and money were 
both ready, but that the people had no confidence except 
in the refugees, and that he was going to return to Paris for 
this purpose. As he had taken part in every blow dealt 
since 1830, he was not the man to back out of this ; but 
he himself was not sufficient, he required ten refugees, 
of good will, to put themselves at the head of the people 
when the time for action arrived, and he had come to 
seek them in Jersey. He ended by asking Hayes if he 
would be one of the ten. "Parbleu!" replied Hayes. 

Hubert saw the refugees, and made them the same 
confidences with the same mystery, saying, " I have told 
no one but you." He enrolled, among others besides 
Hayes, Jego, who was recovering from typhoid fever, and 
Gigoux, to whom he declared that his name, Gigoux, 
would raise the masses. Those he enlisted thus, with a 
view of taking them to Paris, said, " But the money ? " 
"Best easy," replied Hubert, "they have it. They will 
await you on the landing-stage. Come to Paris, the rest 
will settle itself. They will undertake to find a place for 

Besides Hayes, Gigoux, and Jego, he interviewed 
Jarass^, Famot, Rondeaux, and others. 

Since this dissolution of the General Society two 
societies of refugees were formed in Jersey, the 
" Fraternelle * and the " FraternM" 

Hubert belonged to the " Fraternite," of which Gigoux 
was treasurer. He drew from it, as I have said, seven 
francs a week. He claimed from Gigoux that he should 
be paid the fourteen francs for the two weeks he was 


away, as he had been absent in the service of the 

The day Hubert and those I have mentioned were to 
leave was fixed for Friday, the 21st of October. 

However, a refugee named Battier, a lawyer of Lorient, 
being one morning in the shop of Hurel, the tobacconist, 
saw entering a shop a man to whom he had never spoken, 
but whom he knew by sight. This man, perceiving him 
to be a Frenchman, said to him, "Citizen, have you 
change for a hundred-franc note?" "No," replied 
Rattier. The man unfolded a yellow paper, which he 
was holding in his hand, and presented it to the tobacco- 
nist, requesting change. The shopkeeper had not suffi- 
cient. During the colloquy Battier recognized the paper 
as a Bank of France note for one hundred francs. The 
man went away, and Rattier said to Hurel, " Do you 
know that man's name ? " " Yes," replied Hurel, " he is 
a French refugee named Hubert." 

Almost at the same time Hubert, when paying for his 
lodgings, took from his pocket a handful of shillings and 
half crowns. 

M^lanie Simon claimed the thirty-two francs ; he re- 
fused to pay her, and at the same time, by a strange sort 
of contradiction, he permitted her to see a pocketbook 
full, as M^lanie said afterwards, of yellow and blue 
papers. "These are bank-notes," said Hubert to her. 
" I have here three thousand five hundred francs." 

Now the contradiction was explained. Hubert, about 
to return to France, wished to take M&anie Simon with 
him ; he refused to pay her, in order that she might go 
with him ; and that she might go without anxiety, he 
showed her that he was rich. 

MSlanie Simon did not wish to leave Jersey, and again 
demanded her thirty-two francs. Disputes arose ; Hubert 
still refused, "Listen to me," said M&anie; "if you do 


not pay me, I have seen your money, I suspect you are a 
spy, and I will denounce you to the refugees." 

Hubert laughed. 

" Make them believe that of me," said he. "Allans done' 9 

He hoped to disabuse M&anie Simon of this idea by 
putting a good face on the matter. 

" My thirty-two francs," said M&anie. 

" Not a sou," replied Hubert. 

M&anie Simon went to find Jarassg, and denounced 

It seemed at first sight that Hubert was right Among 
the refugees the idea was divided. 

" Hubert a spy ? " they said. " Nonsense ! " 

Beauvais recalled his sobriety and Gaffney his disin- 
terestedness, Bisson his republicanism, Seigneuret his 
communism, Bourillon his five months they slept on the 
stones, Gigoux the assistance they had given him, Rou- 
milhac his stoicism, and all of them his misery. 

" I have seen him without shoes," said one. 

" And I without a home," said another. 

" And I without bread," added a third. 

" He was my best friend," remarked Hayes. 

Then Rattier related the incident of the one-hundred- 
franc note ; the details of Hubert's journey leaked out by 
degrees. They asked themselves why this curious jour- 
ney had been undertaken ? They learned that he had 
passed from place to place with wonderful facility. A 
resident of Jersey declared that he had seen him walking 
on the quay of Saint-Malo among the custom-house offi- 
cers and the gendarmes without their noticing him. 
Suspicion was awakened : Melanie Simon proclaimed it on 
the house-tops ; the wine-growing poet, Claude Durand, 
who was respected by all the proscribed, shook his head 
when speaking of Hubert 

M&anie Simon told Jarassd of Hubert's letter, giving 


his address in Paris at No. 38, Kue de l']cole de Mde- 
cine, where a friend received his letters. Now, the son of 
Math6, the representative, when he went to Paris some 
months before, had by a curious coincidence lodged in 
that very same house. 

Jarassd having shown to Math Hubert's letter to 
M&anie, the address and the friend attracted the atten- 
tion of Math's son, who was present, and who declared 
that it was the house in which he had lodged. Among 
the lodgers there had been an agent of police named 

A portentous rumour began to circulate among the 

Hayes and Gigoux, Hubert's friends, whom he had 
enrolled for Paris, said to him, 

"People are certainly talking." "About what?" said 
Hubert. "About M^lanie Simon and you." "Well, 
they say she is my mistress, I suppose." " No, they say 
that you are a spy." "Well, what of that?" " It will pro- 
voke an inquiry," said Hayes. " And a judgment," said 

Hubert made no answer. His friends frowned. 

Next day they pressed him again. He was silent 
They returned to the charge. He almost refused to 
speak. The more he hesitated, the more they insisted. 
They finished up by declaring that he must clear the 
matter up. 

Hubert, having no means of avoiding the inquiry, and 
perceiving that suspicion grew stronger, consented. 

The refugees held their club meeting at Beauvais's 
house, in No. 20, Don Street 

Those idle and those out of work met there in a com- 
mon room. Hubert posted in this room a declaration 
addressed to his brothers in exile, in which, with refer- 
ence to the infamous calumnies spread concerning him, 

VOL. XXIV. 16 


he placed himself at the disposal of all present seeking 
an inquiry, and demanding that he should be judged by 
all the refugees. 

He wished the inquiry to take place immediately, 
reminding them that he wished to leave Jersey on Fri- 
day, the 21st of October, and concluded by saying, "The 
justice of the people ought to be prompt." 

The last words of this proclamation were, " The day is 
approaching. Signed, Hubert." 

The society " Fraternity " to which Hubert belonged 
assembled, called an inquiry, and nominated five of its 
members to institute this dramatic process of proscrip- 
tion, namely, Math, Rattier, Rondeaux, Henry, and 
Hayes. Mathd, since his son's surprised exclamation, 
was convinced of the culpability of Hubert. 

This commission, a regular judicial one, called wit- 
nesses, heard Gigoux and Jego, who had been enrolled by 
Hubert for Paris, Jarass3, Famot, to whom Hubert had 
spoken of the six months 1 massacre to finish up; col- 
lected the reports of Eattier and Hayes ; called M^lanie 
Simon, confronted her with Hubert ; read in evidence the 
letter written by Hubert from Angers, which, though 
torn, was pieced together ; drew up an official report of 
everything. When confronted with Hubert, M^lanie 
Simon confirmed all her statements, and told him plainly 
that he was a Bonapartist spy. 

Suspicions abounded, but the proofs were wanting. 

Math3 said to Hubert, " You are going away on Fri- 
day?" "Yes." "You have a trunk?" "Yes." "What 
do you carry in that trunk?" "My old clothes and 
the copies of the Socialist and Republican publications." 
" Will you permit your trunk to be searched ? " " Yes." 

Rondeaux accompanied Hubert to Beauvais's house, 
where he lodged, and where his trunk was. It was 
opened. Rondeaux found in it some shirts and hand- 


kerchiefs, an old pair of trousers, and an old coat Noth- 
ing more. 

The absence of positive proof weakened the suspi- 
cions, and the opinion of the refugees went rather in 
Hubert's favour. 

Hayes, Gigoux, and Beauvais defended him warmly. 

Kondeaux told what he had found in the trunk. 

" And the Socialist publications ? " asked Math& 

" I did not see any of them," replied Kondeaux. 

Hubert said nothing. 

However, the report of the searching of the trunk got 
about, and a carpenter of Queen Street said to Jarass^, 
I think it was. " But have you opened the double bot- 
tom?" "What double bottom?" "The double bottom 
of the trunk." " Do you mean to say that the trunk has 
a false bottom ? " " Certainly." " How do you know ? " 
" Because I made it" 

This was repeated to the commissioners. Math said 
to Hubert, " Your trunk has a false bottom ? " " No doubt" 
" Why this double bottom ? " " Parbleu ! To hide the 
democratic writings which I carry about" "Why did 
you not tell Rondeaux of it ? " "I did not think about 
it" " Will you permit us to see it ? " " Yes." 

Hubert gave his consent in the calmest manner in the 
world, giving answers in monosyllables and scarcely re- 
moving his pipe from his mouth. From his laconic 
answers his friends argued his innocence. 

The commissioners decided that they would all be 
present at this inspection of the trunk. They set out 
It was Thursday, the day before that fixed by Hubert 
for his departure. "Where are we going?" asked 

"To Beauvais's house," said Rondeaux, "since your 
trunk is there." Hubert replied : 

"We are a numerous body ; it will be necessary to 


break open the false bottom with a hammer ; that will 
cause some commotion at Beauvais's house, where there 
are always a number of refugees. Let two of you come 
with me and carry the trunk to the carpenter's house, 
while the others await us there. As the carpenter made 
the false bottom, he will be able to remove it better than 
anybody else. All will then pass in the presence of the 
commission without scandal/' 

They consented to this. Hubert, assisted by Hayes 
and Henry, carried the trunk to the carpenters shop ; the 
false bottom was opened, a quantity of papers was 
found; they were Republican writings, my speeches, 
the "Bagnes d'Afrique" of Kibeyrolles, the "Couronne 
Imp^riale " of Cahaigne. They found there three or four 
passports of Hubert's, the last issued in France on his 
order. They found a complete set of documents relative 
to the interior organization of the revolutionary society 
organized in London by Ledru-Rollin, all that packed in 
with a mass of letters and old documents. 

Among the latter they found two letters which seemed 

The former, dated the 24th of September, was addressed 
to the Prefect of the Eure, rejecting the amnesty offered 
with a prodigality of epithets. This was the letter which 
Hubert had shown to the refugees in London, and fixed 
up in their meeting-room. 

The second letter, dated the 30th, only six days later, 
was addressed to the same person, and contained, under 
the guise of asking for money, clear offers of service to the 
Bonapartist Government 

These two letters contradicted each other ; it was evi- 
dent that only one of them was intended to be sent, and 
it appeared probable that this was not the former. Ac- 
cording to all appearance, the second was the true letter ; 
the first was merely a blind. 


They showed them to Hubert, who continued to smoke 
his pipe calmly. 

They put the letters on one side, and continued their 
examination of the papers.. 

A letter in Hubert's writing, commencing "My dear 
mother," fell into the hands of Rattier. He read the 
opening sentences, but as it seemed a family letter he 
was about to throw it down, when he perceived that the 
sheet was double. He opened it almost mechanically, 
and he felt as if lightning had flashed in his eyes. His 
gaze fell on the head of the second sheet on these words, 
in Hubert's handwriting, " To M. de Maupas, Minister of 
Police. Monsieur le Ministre." 

Then followed the letter which they were about to read, 
a letter signed "Hubert." 

To M. de Maupas, Minister of Police at Paris. 

M. LE MINISTRE, I have received, under date of 14th of 
September last, with the view of making me return to 
France, a letter from M. le Pr&et de 1'Eure. 

On the 24th and 30th of the same month I wrote two let- 
ters to M. le Preset, neither of which has been answered. 

Since then my name has figured in the "Moniteur" in 
the list, according to the decree of the 5th of this month 
(February), but I was not ready to go at that time, as I 
wished to finish in London a pamphlet entitled "The Re- 
publican Refugees, and the Republic impossible by these 
same pretended Republicans." This pamphlet, full of truths 
and facts which no one could deny, will produce, I think, 
some effect in France, where I wish to have it printed. I 
had my passport vise for France yesterday; nothing of impor- 
tance will keep me in England except that before leaving, if 
they will give me what is due to me, what I claim by my 
letter of the 30th of September. 

M. le Pr&et de PEure, who was begged to communicate 
this letter to the proper person, should have laid it before the 


Government. I am waiting the solution of the matter, but 
seeing that so long a time has elapsed and I have received 
nothing, I have decided to address this letter to you, in the 
hope of obtaining an immediate settlement. 

My address in London, England, is 17 Church Street, Soho 

And my name, Hubert Julien Damascene, geometrical 
surveyor of Henqueville, near Andelys (Eure). 

(Signed) HUBERT. 

25th of February, 1853. 

Battier raised his eyes and looked at Hubert. 

He had dropped his pipe. The perspiration stood on 
his forehead in great beads. 

" You are a spy ! " said Kattier. 

Hubert, pale as death, fell into a chair without 

The members of the commission tied up the papers and 
went immediately to report the result to the Fraternity 
Society, which was then assembled. 

It was on their way thither that I met them. 

When these facts came to light, a sort of electric shock 
thrilled the refugees in the town. They ran about the 
streets, they ran against each other; the most excited 
was the most stupefied. That Hubert, whom they had 

One fact added to the excitement. Thursday is the 
post-day when the papers from France arrive in Jersey. 
The news which they brought threw a lurid light upon 
Hubert Three hundred arrests had been made in Paris. 
Hubert had seen Rocher of Nantes at Saint-Malo ; Roeher 
had been arrested. He had seen Gudpin and the Man- 
gins at Nantes; the Mangins and Gudpin had been 
arrested. He had seen Rioteau at Angers, and had 
borrowed money from him; Rioteau was arrested. He 


had seen Goudchaux and Boisson at Paris ; Goudchaux 
and Boisson were arrested. 

Facts and memories came in shoals. Gaffney, one of 
those who to the last moment had supported Hubert, 
related that, in 1852, he had forwarded contraband from 
London to Havre a parcel containing eighty copies of 
"Napoleon the Little." Hubert and an attorney of 
Rouen, a refugee named Bachelet, were in his room when 
he closed the parcel. He had made in their presence a 
calculation, from which it resulted that the parcel was to 
be sent to his mother's house to him, Gaffney, on the day 
when a friend previously notified would come and take it 
away. Hubert and Bachelet went out After their 
departure Gaffney rectified his calculation, and found out 
that the parcel would arrive at his mother's house at 
Havre a day too soon. He wrote accordingly to his 
mother and his friend. The parcel arrived, and was 
taken away by his friend. On the day following, which 
had been fixed by Gaffney in the presence of Hubert and 
Bachelet, the police searched Madame Gaffhey's house, 
with a view of finding the books which they said had 
been sent to her from London. 

About ten o'clock in the evening twelve or fifteen 
refugees were assembled at Beauvais's house. Pierre 
Leroux, and a Jersey gentleman, M. Philippe Asplet, a 
constabulary officer, were seated in a corner. Pierre 
Leroux conversed with M. Asplet about table-turning. 

Suddenly Henry entered and told them about the false 
bottom in the trunk, the letter to Maupas, the arrests in 
France; Hayes, Gigoux, and Rondeaux confirmed his 

At that moment the door opened and Hubert appeared. 
He came back to sleep, and as usual took his key from a 
peg in the common room. 

* There he is ! " cried Hayes. 


They all rushed upon Hubert. 

Gigoux struck him, Hayes seized him by the hair, 
Heurtebise held him by the throat, Beauvais drew his 
knife, Asplet arrested Beauvais's arm. 

Beauvais told me an hour later that, if it had not been 
for M. Asplet, Hubert would have been a dead man. 

M. Asplet, in his official capacity, intervened, and took 
Hubert from them. Beauvais threw away his knife; 
they left the spy alone. Two or three went into the 
corners, dropped their faces into their hands, and wept. 

Meanwhile I had gone home. 

It was close on midnight, as I was going to bed, that I 
heard a carriage stop at the door. The bell rang, and the 
moment afterwards Charles came into my room and told 
me that Beauvais had come. 

I went downstairs. All the refugees had united to 
pronounce sentence on Hubert. They kept him in cus- 
tody, and they had sent Beauvais to seek for me. I hesi- 
tated. To judge this man in this nightly sitting, this 
Vehmgericht of the refugees, all that appeared strange 
and repugnant to my habits. Beauvais insisted. 

"Come," said he to me; "if you do not, I cannot 
answer for Hubert." 

Then he continued, " I cannot answer for myself. If it 
had not been for Asplet, I should have stabbed him." 

I followed Beauvais, taking with me my two sons. 
As we proceeded we were joined by Cahaigne, Ribeyrolles, 
Frond, Leffevre the cripple, Cauvet, and many other refu- 
gees who lived at Havre-des-pas. 

Midnight was striking when we reached our destination. 

The room in which they were going to try Hubert is 
called the Refugees' Club, and is one of those large, square 
rooms which one finds in almost all English houses. 
These rooms, not much appreciated by French people, 
overlook the two facades of the mansion, back and front 


This one, situated on the first floor of Beauvais's house, 
No. 20, Don Street, has two windows looking into an 
inner court, and three upon the street opposite the large 
red front of the building destined for the public halls, 
which is here called Hdtel de Ville. Some of the inhabi- 
tants of the town, aroused by the rumours in circulation, 
were chatting in low tones beneath the windows. Kefu- 
gees were arriving from all directions. 

When I entered, they had nearly all assembled. They 
were distributed in the two compartments of the room, 
and spoke to each other in grave tones. 

Hubert had come to see me in Brussels and in Jersey, 
but I had no recollection of him. When I entered I 
asked Heurtebise where Hubert was. 

" Behind you," said Heurtebise. 

I turned round and saw, seated at a table with his 
back to the wall, near the street, beneath the centre 
window, a pipe in front of him, his hat on his head, a 
man of about fifty years old, ruddy, marked with small- 
pox, with very white hair and black moustaches. His 
eyes were steady and calm. From time to time he 
raised his hat and wiped his forehead with a large blue 

His brown paletot was buttoned to the chin. Now 
that one knew what he was, one discovered the mien of 
a serjeant-de-ville. 

People passed and repassed before him and round him 
speaking of Kim. 

" There is the coward," said one. 

" Look at the bandit," said another. He heard these 
remarks exchanged, and seemed as indifferent to them 
as if they had been spoken of some one else. 

Although the room was crowded by the new arrivals, 
there was a space left near him. He was alone at the 
table and on that bench. Four or five refugees stood 


upright by the window guarding him. One of them was 
Boni, who teaches us to ride on horseback. 

The proscription was nearly complete, although the 
convocation had been arranged hastily in the middle of 
the night when the greater number of the refugees were 
in bed and asleep. 

Nevertheless, one remarked some absentees. Pierre 
Leroux, having assisted at the first collision of Hubert 
and the refugees, had gone away and had not returned ; 
and of all the numerous family which they call here the 
Leroux tribe, Charles was the only member present. 
There were also absent the greater number of those 
whom we call Us exaltes, and among them the author 
of the manifesto entitled " Du Coruit^ Itevolutionnaire," 

They sent for the commission which had started the 
proscription. It arrived. Mathd, who had just got out 
of bed, seemed still half-asleep. 

Among the refugees present an old man, grown aged in 
conspiracy, was conversant with these sorts of summary 
processes among refugees in the catacombs, a kind of 
free-justice meetings, where mystery does not exclude 
solemnity, and where he more than once had pronounced 
terrible sentences, which all sanctioned and some carried 
out. This old man was Cahaigne. Old in face, young 
in heart, flat nose buried in a grey beard, and white hair, 
a republican with the face of a Cossack, a democrat with 
the manners of a gentleman, a poet, a man of the world, 
a man of action, a fighter at barricades, a veteran in con- 
spiracy. Cahaigne is a personage. 

They called on him to preside. For secretaries they 
gave him Jarassd, who is of the "Fraternit^" Society, 
and Heurtebise, of the " Fraternelle " Society. 

These societies do not live fraternally together. 

The sitting was opened. A deep silence prevailed. 


The room at this moment presented a strange aspect 
In the two compartments, each lighted, and very feebly, 
by two gas-jets, were arranged and grouped, seated, stand- 
ing up, stooping, leaning on their elbows, on benches, 
chairs, stools, tables, on the window-sills, some with arms 
folded leaning against the wall, all pale, grave, severe, 
almost sinister, were the seventy refugees in Jersey. 
They filled the two compartments of the room, leaving 
only in the compartment with three windows looking 
into the street a small space occupied by three tables, 
the table by the wall where Hubert sat alone, a table 
close by, at which were Cahaigne; Jarassd, and Heurte- 
bise, and opposite a very small one, on which Rattier, 
the reporter, had placed his note-book. Behind this 
table a bright fire was burning in the grate, and was 
from time to time attended to by a lad. On the mantel- 
piece above a pipe-rack, amid a crowd of bills emanating 
from the refugees, between the announcement of Charles 
Leroux, recommending his sewing establishment, and 
the placard of Ribot, inaugurating the hat manufactory 
of the Chapeau rouge, was exhibited, stuck up with some 
wafers, the placard calling for an inquiry and " prompt 
justice," signed, Hubert. 

Here and there upon the table were glasses of brandy 
and pots of beer. All round the room hung on hooks 
were glazed caps, straw and felt hats, and an old draught- 
board, the white squares of which were scarcely whiter 
than the black ones, was hanging on the wall above 
Hubert's head. 

I was seated with Ribeyrolles and my sons in an angle 
near the chimney. 

Some of the refugees were smoking, some pipes, 
others cigars, so there was little light and much smoke 
in the room. The upper part of the windows, en guiUo- 
tines English fashion, were open to let out the smoke. 


The proceedings commenced by the interrogation of 
Hubert. At the first words Hubert doffed his cap. 
Cahaigne questioned him with a somewhat theatrical 
gravity ; but which, whatever the tone, one felt lugubri- 
ous and serious. 

Hubert gave his two Christian names, Julien Damas- 

Hubert had had time to regain his presence of mind. 
He answered precisely and without delay. At a certain 
time, when they were speaking to him concerning his 
return by the department of the Eure, he rectified some 
little mistake of Cahaigne's : " Pardon me, Louviers is 
on the right bank and Andelys on the left" Beyond 
that he confessed nothing. 

The interrogation finished, they passed to the reading 
of the official report of the commission, the witnesses, 
and the proofs. 

This reading commenced amid profound silence, which 
was succeeded by a murmur which increased in volume in 
proportion as the black and odious facts were dragged 
to light. Stifled murmurs were audible. "Ah, the ras- 
cal, the scoundrel, why do not we strangle this black- 
guard on the spot?" 

In the midst of this volley of imprecations the reader 
was forced to raise his voice. Rattier was reading. 
Math passed him up the sheets of paper. Beauvais 
was holding a candle to him ; the tallow kept dropping 
on the table. 

After the depositions of the witnesses had been read, 
Rattier announced that he had arrived at a decisive piece 
of evidence. Silence was renewed, a feverish, restless 
silence. Charles whispered to me, " One may learn how 
to treat a spy." 

Rattier read the letter from Hubert to Maupas. 

So long as the letter was being read the audience con- 


tained itself, hands were clinched, some men bit their 

When the last word had been read, " The signature ? " 
cried old Fombertaux. 

Rattier said, " It is signed, Hubert." 

Then the uproar broke out. The silence had only 
been caused by the expectation mingled with a sort of 
hesitation to believe such a thing possible. Some had 
even doubted up till then and said, " It is impossible." 
When this letter appeared, written by Hubert, dated by 
Hubert, signed by Hubert, evidently real, indubitable be- 
fore every one, within every one's reach, the name of 
Maupas written by Hubert, conviction fell into the mid- 
dle of the assembly like a thunder-bolt 

Furious faces were turned towards Hubert. Many 
individuals leaped upon the benches ; threatening hands 
were raised against him. There was a frenzy of rage 
and grief ; a terrible light filled all eyes. 

Nothing was heard but cries of " Scoundrel ! " " Ah, 
the miserable Hubert 1 " " Ah, you brigand of the Eue 
de Jerusalem ! " 

Fombertaux, whose son is at Belle Isle, exclaimed, 
"Those are the scoundrels to whom we give twenty 

" Yes," added another, " it is, thanks to such creatures 
as he, that the young are in prison and the old in 

A refugee, whose name I forget, a fine, fair-haired 
young man, leaped upon the table, pointed to Hubert, 
and cried, " Citizens, death ! " 

" Death ! death ! " shouted a chorus of voices. Hubert 
looked about him with a bewildered air. 

The same young man continued : 

" We will keep hold of him, so that he shall not escape 


One cried, " Throw him into the Seine." 

At this there was an explosion of sardonic laughter. 

" Do you think that you are still on the Pont Neuf ? " 

Then they continued, "Throw the spy into the sea, 
with a stone round his neck ! " 

"Let us send him where all is blue," said Fombertaux. 

During the turmoil, Mathd had handed me Hubert's 
letter, and I was examining it with Ribeyrolles. It was 
actually, written on the second page of a family letter in 
a rather long, neat, legible hand, with some erasures, but 
altogether in Hubert's hand. At the bottom of this rough 
draft, after the manner of an illiterate man, he had signed 
his name in full. 

Cahaigne proclaimed silence, but the tumult was in- 
describable. Every one spoke at the same time, and it 
seemed as if a single mind was hurling from sixty 
mouths the same malediction upon the miserable man. 

" Citizens," cried Cahaigne, " you are judges I " 

This was sufficient. All was silent, raised hands were 
lowered, and each man, folding his arms or resting his 
elbow on his knee, resumed his place with lugubrious 

"Hubert," said Cahaigne, "do you recognize this let- 

Jarassd presented the letter to Hubert, who replied, 

Cahaigne continued, " What explanation have you to 

Hubert was silent. 

"So," pursued Cahaigne, "you confess yourself a 

Hubert raised his head, looked at Cahaigne, struck his 
fist upon the table, and said, " That no ! " 

A murmur pervaded the audience like an angry shiver. 
The explosion, which had only been suspended, very 


nearly recommenced, but as they saw that Hubert was 
about to continue, they kept silence. 

Hubert declared, in a thick, broken voice, but which 
had, nevertheless, a certain firmness and, sad to say, sin- 
cerity in it, that he had never done any one any harm ; 
that he was a Republican ; that he would die ten thou- 
sand deaths before he brought to the ground by his own 
fault a hair from the head of a Republican. That, if 
arrests had been made in Paris, he was innocent of them ; 
that they had not paid sufficient attention to the first 
letter to the Prefect of the Eure. That, as regards the 
letter to Maupas, it was a draft, a project ; that he had 
written it, but had never sent it. That they would recog- 
nize the truth too late, and would regret their action. 
That, as for the pamphlet, " The Republic impossible be^ 
cause of Republicans," he had written that too, but had 
not published it. 

They all cried out, " Where is it ? " 
He calmly replied, " I have burned it" 
" Is that all you have to say ? " inquired Cahaigne. 
Hubert shook his head and continued : 
" He owed nothing to M&anie Simon ; those who had 
seen money in his possession were mistaken. The citizen 
Rattier was deceived ; he (Hubert) had never been in the 
shop of the tobacconist Hurel. His passports were a very 
simple matter ; being amnestied, he had a right to them. 
He had paid back the fifty francs to Rioteau of Angers ; 
he was an honest man ; he had never had a bank-note. 
The money he had expended he had received from the 
woman, about one hundred and sixty francs in all. He 
had met Citizen Boisson in Paris at a cheap restaurant. 
It was there he gave his address. If he had intended to 
bring the refugees to Paris, it was with a view to over- 
turn Badinguet, not to betray his friends. If the gen- 
darmes had allowed him to move about freely in France, 


it was not his fault Definitely, there was an under- 
standing among them to get rid of him, and all were 
victims of it." 

He repeated two or three times, without their being able 
to understand to what this phrase referred, " The carpenter 
who made the false bottom is here to say so." 

" Is that all ? " said Cahaigue again. 

"Yes," said he, 

This word was received with a shudder. They had 
heard the explanations, but they had explained nothing. 

" Take care I " continued Cahaigne. " You yourself 
have said we can judge you ; we do judge you ; we can 
condemn you." 

" And execute you," cried a voice. 

"Hubert," continued Cahaigne, "you risk all the dangers 
of punishment. Who knows what will happen to you ? 
Take care! Disarm your judges by candid confession. 
Our friends are in the hands of Bonaparte, but you are 
in ours. Tell the facts clearly to us. Aid us to save our 
friends, or you are lost. Speak." 

" It is you," said Hubert, raising his head, " it is you 
who lose * our friends ' in Paris by speaking their names 
as loudly as you do in an assembly" (and he looked round 
him) "in which there are evidently spies. I have nothing 
more to say." 

Then the uproar was renewed, and with such fury that 
it was feared some would pass from words to acts. 

The cries " To death ! " arose anew from a number of 
angry mouths. 

There was in the Assembly a shoemaker of Niort, an 
old non-commissioned officer of artillery, called Guay, a 
fanatical Communist, but an excellent and honest work- 
man, nevertheless, a man with a Jong black beard, a 
pale face, rather sunken eyes and slow speech, of grave 
and resolute demeanour. He rose and said : 


* Citizens, it seems that you wish to condemn Hubert 
to death. That surprises me. You forget that we are in 
a country which has laws that we must not violate, nor 
attempt anything contrary to them. Nevertheless Hubert 
must be punished, both for the past and for the future, 
and impress on him an ineffaceable stigma. So, as we 
must do nothing unlawful, this is what I propose. We 
will seize Hubert and shave his hair and beard, and as 
hair will grow again we will cut a small piece out of his 
right ear. Ears do not grow again." 

This proposition, enunciated in the gravest tone and in 
the most convinced way, was received in that lugubrious 
assembly with a shout of laughter which continued for 
some time, and which added another horror to the dread 
realities of the scene. 

Near Guay, at the entrance to the other compartment 
of the room, beside Dr. Barbier, was seated a refugee 
named Avias. Avias, a non-commissioned officer in the 
army of Oudinot, had deserted before Borne, not wishing, 
as a Republican, to overturn a Republic. He had been 
caught, tried by court-martial, and condemned to death. 
He had succeeded in making his escape the day before the 
execution was to have taken place. He took refuge in 
Piedmont. On December 2, he crossed the frontier, and 
joined the Republicans of the Var in arms against the 
coup (fftat. In an engagement a bullet broke his ankle. 
His friends carried him out of action with great difficulty, 
and his foot was amputated. Expelled from Piedmont 
he went to England, and thence to Jersey, When he 
arrived he came to see me. Some friends and myself 
assisted him, and he had finished by setting up as a dyer 
and scourer, and so lived* 

Avias seemed to have been well acquainted with Hu- 
bert. While the extracts were being read he continued 

to cry, " Ah, coquin ! ah, j / / Say that he 

VOL. xxiv. 17 


told me Louis Blanc is a traitor! Victor Hugo is a 
traitor ! Ledru-Kollin is a traitor ! " 

When Guay sat down, Avias rose and stood on his 
bench, then on the table. 

Avias is a man thirty years old, tall, with a wide red 
face, projecting brows, goggle-eyes, a large mouth, and a 
Provencal accent With his furious eyes, his hands dis- 
coloured by dye, his foot beating time on the table, 
nothing more savage than this giant with the harsh voice, 
and whose head nearly touched the ceiling, can be 

He exclaimed, " Citizens ! none of this ; let us finish. 
Let us draw lots who is to give this traitor his coup-de- 
grdce. If no one will, then I will volunteer." 

A shout of assent arose : " All ! all ! " 

A small young man with a fair beard, who was seated 
in front of me said, " I will undertake it. The business 
of the spy will be settled to-morrow morning." 

" Not so," said another, in the opposite corner. " There 
are four here who will charge themselves with this." 

" Yes," added Fombertaux, extending his fist close to 
Hubert's head. " Justice upon that rascal death 1 " 

Not a dissenting voice was raised. Hubert, himself 
terrified, bent his head and seemed to say, " It is just." 

I rose. 

" Citizens," I said, " in a man whom you have fed, sup- 
ported, and made friends with, you have found a traitor. 
In a man you have accepted as a brother you find a spy. 
This man is still wearing a coat you bought for him, and 
the shoes with which you provided him. You are shiver- 
ing with indignation and regret. This indignation I 
partake, this sorrow I can understand. But take care I 
What mean these shouts for death? There are two 
beings in Hubert, a spy and a man. The spy is in- 
famous, the man is sacred." 


Here a voice interrupted me, the voice of a fine 
fellow named Cauvet, who is rich and sometimes tipsy, 
and who abused anything pertaining to Ledru-Eollin, to 
show himself a fanatic for the guillotine. A deep silence 
supervened. Cauvet said, in a low voice, " Ah, yes ! that 's 
it, always for soft measures." 

" Yes," said I, " for moderation. Energy on one side, 
mildness on the other. Those are the arms which I wish 
to place in the hands of the Republic." 

I resumed : 

"Citizens, do you know what belongs to you in Hu- 
bert ? The spy, yes ! the man, no ! The spy is yours ; 
the home of the traitor, the name of the traitor, his 
moral being, you have the right to do as you please with 
that ; you have the right to crush that, to tear out that, 
to tread that under foot, yes, you have the right to 
tear the name of Hubert to pieces, and to scrape up the 
hideous fragments in the mud. But do you know what 
you have no right to touch ? not a hair of his head." 

I felt the hand of Eibeyrolles pressing mine. 

" What MM. Hubert and Maupas have tried to do here 
is monstrous. To support a spy out of your poor-funds ; 
to keep in the same pocket the police bank-note and the 
brotherly coins of the refugees ; to throw our money in 
our eyes to blind us; to arrest the men who help us 
in France by the man we feed in Jersey ; to pursue the 
proscribed in ambush ; not to even leave the exile in 
peace; to attach the thread of an infamous plot to the 
holiest fibres of our heart ; to betray us and rob us at 
the same time ; to pick our pockets and sell us, that 
is the snare in which we find the hands of the Imperial 

"What have we to do? Publish the facts! Take 
France, Europe, the public conscience, universal probity 
to witness. Say to the whole world, It is infamous/ 


Sad as the discovery may be, the occasion is fortunate. 
In this business the moral advantage lies with the pro- 
scribed, with the democracy, with the Republic. The 
situation is excellent Do not let us spoil itl 

" Do you know how we may spoil it ? By misconceiv- 
ing our rights, and behaving like the Venetians of the 
sixteenth century, instead of like Frenchmen of the nine- 
teenth, in acting like the Council of Ten, in killing a 

" In principle I am no more anxious about the death 
of a spy than of a parricide, I assure you. In fact, it is 
absurd ! 

" Touch this man, wound him, only beat him, and to- 
morrow the opinion that is with you will be against you. 
The English law will arrest you. From judges you will 
become the accused. M. Hubert gone, M. de Maupas 
gone, and what remains? You proscribed Frenchmen 
before a British jury. 

" And instead of saying, ' Look at the baseness of that 
police/ they will say, 'Look at the brutality of those 

"Citizens," I added, extending my arms towards Hu- 
bert, "I take this man under my protection, not for 
the man's sake, but for the Republic. I oppose any one 
who will do him harm now or in future, here or else- 
where. I sum up your rights in a word : Publish, do 
not kill I Punishment by publicity, not by violence. A 
deed in open day, not by night. The skin of Hubert ! 
Great God, what is it worth ? What can you do with 
the skin of a spy ? I declare no one shall touch Hubert, 
no one shall ill-treat him. To poniard M. Hubert would 
be to disgrace the poniard To whip M. Hubert would 
only sully the whip." 

These words, which I reproduce from memory, were 
listened to with profound attention and increasing adhe- 


sion at each moment. When I reseated myself the ques- 
tion was decided. To tell the truth, I did not think 
Hubert was in any danger during the sitting ; but the 
morrow might have been fatal. 

When I seated myself I distinctly heard a refugee 
behind me, named Fillion, who had escaped from Africa, 
say, " That is it. The spy is saved. We should act and 
not talk. That will teach us to chatter ! " 

These words were drowned in a general cry of "No 
violence! Publish the facts, appeal to public opinion, 
hold the police and Hubert up to execration ; that is 
what we '11 do." 

Claude, Durand, Bulier, Rattier, Ribeyrolles, Cahaigne 
congratulated me warmly. Hubert looked at me with 
a mournful gaze. The sitting had been, as it were, sus- 
pended after my speech. The proscribed of the terrorist 
school looked at me angrily. 

Fillion came up to me and said, "You are right." 
From the moment they had spoken nothing was more 
likely. Is it necessary that when you execute a traitor 
you should proclaim the fact on the house-tops ? We 
are sixty here, fifty-six too many. Four would suffice. 
In Africa we had a similar case. We discovered that a 
man named Auguste Thomas was a detective an old 
Republican too and in every plot for the past twenty 
years. We had proofs of the facts at nine P.M. Next 
day the man had disappeared, without any one knowing 
what had become of him. That is the way those things 
should be managed." 

As I was about to reply to Fillion the business was 
resumed. Cahaigne raised his voice and said, "Seat 
yourselves, citizens. You have heard Citizen Victor 
Hugo. What be proposes is moral punishment" 

"Yes, yes. Very good," exclaimed a multitude of 


Cauvet, the man who had interrupted me, moved upon 
the table on which he was seated. 

" Parbleu ! that is beautiful, a moral punishment, 
and you will let him off I To-morrow he will go to 
France to denounce and sell all our friends. We ought 
to kill the cur ! " 

This was one great objection. Hubert at liberty was 

Beauvais interfered. 

" There is no need to kill him, and you need not let 
him go. I have kept Hubert since April, and lodged him 
for almost nothing. I was willing to help a refugee, but 
not to feed a spy. Now M. de Maupas must pay me M. 
Hubert's expenses, eighty-three francs. To-morrow 
morning M. Asplet shall arrest M. Hubert and drop him 
into prison for debt, at least, unless he produces the 
bank-notes which M. de Maupas gave him. I shall be 
glad to see them." 

There was laughter at this. Beauvais had in fact 
settled the question. 

" Yes," cried Vincent, " but he will be off to-morrow 

" We will guard him," said Boni. 

" Search him," cried Fombertaux. 

" Yes, yes, search the spy." 

A number of men precipitated themselves on Hubert 

"You have neither the right to guard him nor to 
search him. To guard him is to curtail his liberty, to 
search him is to assault him." 

The searching, moreover, was senseless. It was evi- 
dent that Hubert, since the investigation, had nothing 
compromising about him. 

Hubert cried, "Let them search me; I consent to 

This was a little astonishing. 


"He consents/' they cried. "He consents. Let us 
search him." 

I stopped them, and asked Hubert, "Do you consent?" 


"You must give your consent in writing." 

" I am quite willing." 

JarassS wrote the consent, and Hubert signed it 
Meantime he was being searched, for they had not the 
patience to wait for the signature. 

His pockets were emptied and turned out. Nothing 
was found except a few coppers, his large handkerchief, 
and a piece of the " Jersey Chronicle." 

" His shoes, search his shoes." 

Hubert pulled off his shoes, and put them on the table. 

" There was nothing in them," he said, " but the feet of 
a Republican." 

Cahaigne then spoke. He put my proposition, and it 
was adopted nem. con. 

While the proposition was being signed, Hubert had 
put on his shoes and his hat, he had taken up his pipe, 
and seemed as if he wanted some one to give him a 

At this moment Cauvet approached him and said, in a 
low voice, " Would you like a pistol ? " 

Hubert made no answer. 

" Would you like a pistol ? " repeated Cauvet 

Hubert kept silence. Cauvet began again : " I have a 
pistol at home, a good one. Will you have it ? " 

Hubert shrugged his shoulders, and pushed the table 
with his elbows. 

"Will you?" said Cauvet 

" Leave me alone," said Hubert 

" You don't want my pistol ? " 


"Then shake hands." 


And Cauvet, quite drunk, held out his hand to Hubert, 
who did not take it. 

Meanwhile I was talking with Cahaigne, who said to 
me, " You have done well to put them off, but I am 
afraid that to-morrow their anger will break out again, 
in two or three like Avias, and that they will kill him 
in some corner or other." 

I had not signed the deposition. All had signed 
except me. 

Heurtebise handed me the pen. 

" I will sign in three days/ 1 I said. 

" Why ? " asked several. 

" Because I am afraid of blows. I will sign in three 
days, when I shall be sure that the threats have not 
been carried out, and that no ill has come to Hubert." 

They shouted on all sides, " Sign, sign ; we will not 
harm him." 

" You will guarantee it?" 

" We promise you." 

I signed. 

Half an hour after I reached home ; it was six o'clock 
A.M. The sea-breeze whistled about the Rocher des 
Proscrits. The first rays of dawn were lighting up the 
sky. Some little silver clouds played amid the stars. 

At that same hour M. Asplet, directed by Beauvais, 
arrested Hubert, and put him in prison for debt 

On the morning of October 21, about six o'clock, Sieur 
Lament, who is the French vice-consul here, came to M. 
Asplet's house. He came, he said, to claim a Frenchman 
illegally imprisoned. 

" For debt," replied M. Asplet. He then produced the 
order of arrest signed by the deputy, Vicomte M. Horman. 

" Will you pay the amount ? " said M. Asplet 

The consul bowed, and went away. 

It seems to be Hubert's destiny to be fed at the 


refugees' expense. At this moment they are keeping 
him in his prison at an expense of sixpence a day. 

Looking over my papers, I found a letter from Hubert. 
There is in this letter a sad phrase : " Hunger is a bad 
counsellor ! " 

So Hubert has been hungry. 


GUERNSEY, December 6-12. 

MMAETIN, the queen's provost iu Guernsey, 
came to see me on my arrival I returned his 
visit on the 5th of December, 1858. He offered to 
accompany me to the prison, which I was desirous to see. 

We had gone by the streets which rise behind the 
Royal Court. When strolling about Saint Peter's Port, 
I had already remarked in the town, midway, a high 
wall, in which was a high gate with a G carved in the 
granite on the top of it. I said to myself, " That ought 
to be the prison. So it is." 

The jailer received us. He is named Barbet ; so the 
Guernsey malefactors call the prison the Hotel Barbet. 
This man had the same frank, firm face, the same pleasant 
and determined manner which I had already remarked in 
many other jailers. His wife and daughter were prepar- 
ing soup in the corner. 

Barbet took a heavy key, opened a grated door, and in- 
troduced us into a vast empty court, bounded on three 
sides by the high wall which had already attracted my 
attention. On the south the court is dominated by a new 
building of grey granite, the two-storied front of which is 
composed of two rows of seven arches superposed. Be- 
neath the arches are the windows. Through the glass 
we perceive the heavy bars, painted white. That is the 
prison and those are the cells. 

TAPNEB. 267 

"Guernsey is an honest island," said the provost a 
distinguished and intelligent man a Non-conformist, an 
Independent, as Cromwell and Milton were. And he 
added, " We have at present only three prisoners, two 
men and a woman, out of a population of forty thousand." 

One of the prisoners entered the court at that moment. 
He was a young man with a pleasing face, condemned to 
ten years of Botany Bay for robbery. He was dressed in 
cloth trousers, a small blue paletot, and a cap. 

The provost, who is also called the sheriff, and who in 
this capacity is governor of the prison, and accompanies the 
condemned to the scaffold a circumstance which makes 
him averse to capital punishment explained to me that 
the young man would not be transported, and that he 
would be free in a few years from his cellular prison. 

The English " cellular prison," imbued and penetrated 
by the glacial spirit of English Protestantism, proves that 
severity and cold can be carried to a ferocious pitch. In 
one of the prisons Millbank, I think silence is im- 
posed. The sheriff told me that when visiting that 
prison he found in a cell a young man from Guernsey, 
whom he knew, who had been convicted of theft When 
he saw the provost he clasped his hands and cried, 

"Ah, monsieur, is my grandmother still alive ?" 

The provost had scarcely time to reply, when the jailer 
said to the agonized prisoner, " Hold your tongue ! " 

The young man died soon after. He passed from the 
prison to the tomb : from one silence to the other, and 
scarcely would perceive the change. 

Beneath the seven arcades on the ground-floor are the 
debtors' cells. We entered them. They were unoccupied. 
A wooden bed, a paillasse, and a rug are all the prison 
authorities give to a debtor. The last debtor imprisoned 
was a Guernsey man, whose name has escaped ma He 
was put there by his wife, who kept him there ten years, 


gaining her own liberty by his imprisonment. At the 
end of ten years the husband paid his wife and got out. 
They lived together again, and the provost says do very 
well together. 

There was no prisoner for debt there at the time ; I 
must repeat this. 

This prison is a silent testimony of approval to the 
Guernsey population. It contains twelve cells : six for 
debtors, six for ordinary offenders, besides two punish- 
ment-cells. There are also for the women two cells only, 
of which one is a punishment-cell. 

One of the seven chambers on the ground-floor is the 
chapel, a small room without an altar, having a wooden 
pulpit for the chaplain in the left corner ; and in front of 
the door, back to the window, four or five wooden benches 
with desks, upon which are scattered a few prayer-books. 

On the first floor the criminals are imprisoned. We 
ascended. The jailer opened a well-lighted cell, furnished 
only with a wooden bed. At the foot of the bed the cov- 
erings were rolled up, and the blankets, like the counter- 
panes, are of coarse wool, only they seemed to me knitted. 
The paillasse had been removed, so that one could see the 
bed-board, on which a number of names and inscriptions 
had been cut and scratched with knives or nails. These 
formed a forest of almost obliterated letters. We distin- 
guished among others the following words, which were 
more legible than the others : 




Is not all crime included in those words ? In a corner 
of the board there were some rudely-sketched ships in 

The cell behind this is a punishment-cell. There is 

TAFNEB. 269 

only a plank bed in it, and a small window opening to 
the north. The last occupant had chalked on the wall a 
species of labyrinth, which made the jailer very angry. 
They had soiled the whiteness of his sepulchre for him. 

All the cells were whitewashed. 

The range of arcades in front of the cells form a sort of 
gallery, open to the air and southern sun, where the 
prisoners take exercise in wet weather. 

There is in this gallery an old dilapidated bedstead, on 
which they mount, and can overlook the sea. " That is a 
great enjoyment for them," said the jailer. I stood upon 
the bedstead. I could see the island of Sark, and vessels 
on the horizon. I was desirous of visiting Tapner's celL 
The sheriff conducted me thither. 

This cell, and the punishment-cell near it, compose the 
female side. 

When one is in the court facing the prison one sees 
that the first of the seven upper arcades to the left is 
barred towards the court and walled up towards the 
gallery. The small space between the railing and the 
wall was the special paddock of Tapner. There he paced 
backward and forward all day like a wild beast in a cage, 
in view of the other prisoners, but separated from them. 
The window looking into this cage is the window of 
his cell. 

The door is thick, painted black, and bound with iron. 
Two great bolts above and below and a lock midway. 

The jailer opened this door and let us in. 

The cell, of the same dimensions as the others, about 
ten feet square, is clean, white, and well-lighted. The 
chimney at the bottom of the left angle cantwise, a 
bucket, a plank fixed to the wall facing the door ; on the 
right of the door under the window is a wooden bedstead, 
of which one of the four posts is broken. On the bed a 
paillaase, a rug, and coarse woollen blankets. 


This pallet was Tapner's bed. After his death it was 
given up to the women. 

No fire might be lighted in the chimney without the 
doctor's orders. 

At the moment we entered a woman was seated, or 
rather crouched, upon the bed, with her back to the door. 
I took my hat off. Mr. Tyrrell, a young English painter, 
who accompanied me, did the same. 

This woman, the only prisoner at the time, was so 
the sheriff told me a thief, and more than that, an 
Irishwoman, added the jailer. She was a youngish 
woman, and kept on darning an old stocking, without 
appearing even to see us. 

This woman, in whom the last curiosity was extinct, 
seemed to personify the sombre indifference of misery. 

Tapner suffered in this cold, white, clear cell. 

This John Charles Tapner, a kind of gentlemanly em- 
ploy d of the government, not having made use of the 
advantages of his education, reached the stages of rob- 
bery and assassination by drinking and debauchery. He 
was born of good family and of religious parentage, at 
Woolwich, in 1823. He died before he was thirty-one, 
on the 10th of February, 1854. 

He lived with two sisters married to one, the lover 
of the other. He had insured his life for the full value 
of his appointment, X150 sterling, which absorbed all 
his income, and appeared to announce his intention of 
living by crime. The assurance was in his wife's name 
and his own, for the benefit of the survivor. 

I asked, " Did the company pay it ? " 

" Eh ? No," replied the sheriff. 

" Has it relinquished or given to the poor the annual 
premiums which it received from Tapner ? " 

" Oh no." 

Under the virtuous pretext that there had been a 
crime, the company robbed the widow. 

TAPNEB. 271 

"Tapner appeared indifferent/' said the provost, and 
he therefore concluded the man did not suffer. " That is 
a mistake/' I said. "Do you not believe one is cold 
under the ice?" 

The day before his death his likeness was taken. The 
apparatus was placed in the cage opening from his cell 
where there was plenty of sunlight. Tapner could not 
help laughing as he posed himself. A death's-head 
might as well have laughed 

" Do not laugh," said the provost to him ; " keep seri- 
ous. They will not recognize your portrait You cannot 
laugh to-day ; it is not possible." 

It was so possible that he was laughing. 

One day the provost lent him a prayer-book. " Read 
this, Tapner," said he, " if you are guilty." " I am not 
guilty," replied Tapner. "In any case," replied the 
provost, " you are a sinner, as we all are. You have not 
served God. Read this book." Tapner took it, and 
when the provost entered the cell an hour later he found 
him, book in hand, bathed in tears. 

" His last interview with his wife was most distress- 
ing," said the provost. " Nevertheless, the woman was 
aware of his love-affair with her sister. But who can 
fathom all the mysteries of pardon?" 

The night before my visit to the prison Mr. Pearce, 
one of the two chaplains who had attended Tapner. on 
the day of his death, came to see me at Hauteville House 
with the provost I asked Mr. Pearce, a very venerable 
and dignified gentleman, " Did Tapner know that I was 
interested in him ? " 

"Certainly, sir," replied Mr. Pearce. "He was touched, 
and very grateful for your intervention, and he particu- 
larly wished you to be thanked on his behalf." 

I note, as a characteristic detail of the liberty of the 
English Press, that at the time of Tapner's execution all 
the journals in the island had more or less demanded it, 


and were very much shocked by my letter to Lord Palin- 
erston, agreeing in passing over in silence the facts which 
Mr. Pearce revealed to me. 

" There is," said the provost to me, " another thing of 
which you are ignorant, and which was also passed over 
in silence. You think you completely fail in your inter- 
vention, and, nevertheless, you have gained an enormous 
victory, of which you have no idea. This island is like 
all England, a country of tradition. What has been 
done yesterday must be done to-day, and done again to- 
morrow. Now, tradition ordained that the condemned 
man should go to the gallows with a cord round his neck. 
Tradition ordained that the gibbet should be erected on 
the beach, and that the condemned, to reach it, should 
march through the most public thoroughfares of the 
town, there had not been an execution for twenty-five 
years, and had been so arranged. So of course Tap- 
ner's execution must take place in the same way. After 
your letter they did not dare to do so. They said, let us 
hang the man, but in secret. They were ashamed ; you 
did not tie the hands of Death, but you made him blush. 
They gave up the cord round the neck, the gibbet on the 
beach, the procession through the streets, and the crowd. 
They decided that Tapner should be hanged in private in 
the prison garden. Nevertheless, the law willed that 
the execution ought to be in public, and the matter was 
arranged by my signing tickets of admission for two 
hundred people. Feeling the same distress as they, and 
more, I agreed to all they decided. I signed the tickets 
for those who wanted them. Nevertheless, a difficulty 
presented itself, the garden adjoining the prison is 
separated from it by the very wall of the open cell. The 
door of this garden is in College Street; to reach this 
door it was necessary for the condemned to leave the 
prison and walk about one hundred paces in public. 

TAPNEB. 273 

They did not dare to have this done ; so, to avoid it, they 
made a hole in the wall and let Tapner pass through it 
Discretion prevailed." 

I do not produce here the exact words of the sheriff, 
but the sense is the same. 

" Well," said I, " conduct me to the garden." 

" The breach is closed ; the wall is rebuilt ; I will take 
you round by the street." 

At the moment of leaving the prison the jailer brought 
me some of the soup which is supplied to the prisoners, 
and inviting me to taste it, handed to me a large and 
very clean tin spoon. I tasted the soup, which is good 
and wholesome. The bread is excellent I compared it 
in my mind to the horrible bread of the French prisons 
which they showed me at the Conciergerie, which is 
earthy, damp and viscous and fetid ; often full of worms 
and mouldy. 

It was raining ; the weather was grey and lowering. 

It was not really more than a hundred paces from the 
prison to the entrance of the garden. We turned to the 
left, up College Street, along the high black wall. All 
at once the provost stopped in front of a rather low door. 
On the panels of the door, which leads to the place where 
the man lost by drunkenness and ignorance met his 
death, there are several strips of old bills, yellow, 
white, green, relating to all kinds of things, and on 
which the rain that effaced them, and the weather that 
had torn them to pieces, had only left two words distin- 

The provost had a great key in his hand, and unlocked 
the door, which probably had not been opened since the 
day of the last execution, and which grated noisily on its 
hinges* We entered. 

The provost shut the door behind us. We found our- 
selves in a narrow, square space, shut in on three sides 

YOL. XXIV. 18 


by high walls, and opening on the fourth side on a steep 
staircase, which was dark, though in the open air. Op- 
posite the staircase the provost pointed out to me the 
repaired breach in the wall. Through that breach Tap- 
ner had passed ; the staircase was the first ladder to the 
gibbet. He had mounted it. We mounted it. I do not 
know why I counted the steps at that moment; there 
were fourteen of them. This staircase leads to an oblong 
and narrow garden, overlooked by another, which forms 
a terrace. We ascend to this by seven granite steps like 
the fourteen we have already traversed. 

At the top of these seven steps we are in full view of 
an enclosed open space, a hundred feet square, sur- 
rounded by low walls cut by two alleys, which form a 
cross in the centre. This is what they call the garden. 
Here Tapner was hanged. 

The December sleet continued to fall; a few briers 
rustled in the wind. There were no flowers nor verdure 
in the garden, but only one little, thin, stunted fruit-tree 
at one of the four corners formed by the intersection of 
the walks. The whole appearance was heartrending. 
It was one of those sad places which the sun makes 
melancholy and the rain lugubrious. 

There is no house in the garden. It is nobody's gar- 
den, except that of the spectre they have left there ; it is 
deserted, abandoned, uncultivated, tragic. Other gardens 
surround and isolate it. It has no touch with the town, 
with life, with men only with the prison. The houses 
in the low streets which surround it are visible afar off, 
and seem to have the appearance of looking over the wall 
into this ill-omened place. 

Seeing on one side a sort of little walk, low, narrow, 
long, and rather deep, on which abutted the first fourteen 
steps, and on the other this funereal garden, intersected 
by those two transversal alleys, it was impossible not to 

TAFNEB. 275 

think of a ditch near which might be extended the mor- 
tuary cloth with the cross. 

We have on our right a wall which is as high as the 
great wall where the gate is, and of which one sees the 
back from the street. A walk lower than the rest of the 
garden skirts this wall. A range of thick, rusty tenter- 
hooks, and of long, thin wooden rods, silvered and pol- 
ished by the frost, were fixed vertically to the wall at 
intervals of six to eight paces, indicating that formerly 
there had been an espalier here. It has now disappeared, 
and nothing of the rods is left, except a sort of skeleton. 

A few paces on we reach a flight of three steps, which 
leads from the garden to the walk. Here we remark 
more rods on the wall. They reappear again a little 
farther on, leaving a space of fifteen feet unoccupied. 

Here the provost stopped in silence. I saw that the 
rods were wanting, and I understood. This was where 
the scaffold had been erected. Looking up, one sees 
nothing except the broken glass upon the wall, and 
the round tower of the neighbouring church painted 
yellow and grey. 

The scaffold was raised here. Tapner turned to the 
left, took the middle walk, and reached by one of the 
arms of the cross which the walks form the steps of 
the gibbet placed immediately above the three steps I 
have mentioned. He mounted on the platform, and 
thence, while he was saying his last prayers, he could 
see the sea-birds flying in the distance ; the pale clouds 
of February, the ocean, the immensity yonder; and at 
the same time, by the opening in his mind at that dark 
hour, he could perceive the mystery, the unknown 
future, the escarpments of the tomb God the immen- 
sity on high. 

The gibbet was composed of two supports and a cross- 
bar ; in the centre of this bar a rope with a knot at the 


end hung over a closed trap-door. On this trap, the 
snare of the law, Tapner was placed, and remained stand- 
ing while the noose was adjusted round his neck. From 
the street behind the wall, from the College garden at 
the other side of the street, might have been seen the 
supports of the gibbet, the cord, the knot, and they could 
see the back of the condemned man until the trap-door 
was opened and he fell. Then he disappeared from the 
view of the spectators outside. 

From the interior of the garden, and from the houses 
of which I have already spoken, they could see the rest. 

The punishment was this frightful thing, as I said in 
my letter to Lord Palmerston. The provost recalled it 
to my mind, and confirmed all the details. He consid- 
ered I had rather softened it down than amplified them. 

At the moment Tapner fell the cord tightened, and he 
remained fifteen or twenty seconds motionless, and as if 
he were dead. The queen's proxy, the chaplain, the 
magistrates, believing that it was all over, or fancying 
that it had not commenced, hurried away, and the provost 
remained alone with the criminal, the executioner, and 
the curious spectators. I have described the agony of 
the unhappy wretch, and how the executioner had to 
drag him down by the feet. 

Tapner dead the law satisfied. It is now the turn 
of the superstitious ; they never failed to come to the 
rendezvous which the gallows gives them. Epileptics 
came, and could not be prevented from seizing the con- 
vulsive hand of the dead man and passing it frantically 
over their faces. The dead man was cut down in an 
hour, and then it was a question who should steal the 
cord. The assistants threw it down, and each one claimed 
a piece ; but the sheriff took it and threw it in the fire. 

When it was burned, the people came and collected 
the cinders. 

TAPNER, 277 

The wall against which the gibbet was erected sup- 
ported a hut which occupied the south-east angle of the 
garden; thither they carried the corpse. They made 
ready a table, and a plasterer whom they found there made 
a cast of the man's face. The visage, violently deformed 
by strangulation, was recomposed, and had the expression 
of sleep. The cord removed, calmness returned. It ap- 
pears as if death, even through punishment, wishes 
always to be kind, and that its last word should be peace. 

I went to this hut ; the door was open ; it was a miser- 
able cell, scarcely plastered, which served as a garden 
shed. Some tools were propped against the wall This 
chamber was lighted by a window opening into the 
garden, and by another looking into the street, which 
had been closed up when Tapner was brought thither, 
and had not since been reopened. With the exception 
of the table, which had disappeared, the place was the 
same as when the corpse had been there. The closed 
window was then clo'sed ; the shutter which had been 
put up by the hangman remained shut. In front of this 
window was a piece of furniture, full of little drawers, 
some of which were missing. On this, beside a broken 
bottle and some dried flowers, stood one of these drawers 
full of plaster. It was the same plaster which had been 
used. I opened at hazard another drawer, and found 
more plaster, with the imprints of fingers. The floor 
was littered with yellow herbs and dead leaves. A net 
was thrown into a corner on a heap of dust. Near the 
door, in an angle of a wall, was a shovel, the gardener's 
shovel, probably, or the grave-digger's. 

Towards four o'clock in the afternoon, the body being 
nearly cold, the sheriff put Tapner in the coffin. They 
did not bury him. They did not go to the expense of a 
winding-sheet; they simply nailed him down with his 
clothes on. In Guernsey the clothes of the deceased are 


his own property ; not, as in London, the hangman's per- 
quisite. At nightfall, ten or twelve persons only being 
present, they carried the coffin to the cemetery, where a 
grave had been dug in the morning. 

" You must see everything," said the provost ; so we 
went out, and I followed him. We plunged into the 
poor thoroughfares, and arrived in a narrow, steep, angu- 
lar street lined with hovels, at the corner of which I read 
Lemarchand Street. The provost left me, went down a 
dark alley, and came back with the key, which seemed 
larger than the key of the garden. An instant after we 
stopped in front of a great black door opening in the 

My conductor opened this door, and we found ourselves 
in a sort of dark and lofty shed. 

"Sir," said the provost, "look up; overhead is the 
gibbet of Beasse." 

This Beasse, who was hanged in 1830, was a French- 
man ; he had passed as a non-commissioned officer through 
the Spanish war of 1823 under the Duke of Angoul&me ; 
then, enriched by inheritance or otherwise, he retired to 
Guernsey. There, with his income of fifteen thousand 
francs, he was a gentleman. He bought a fine house, 
and became a grandee. In the evening he visited the 
bailiff, M. Daniel le Brocq. 

When one went to see Beasse one found a man work- 
ing in his garden sometimes. This gardener was the 
hangman. The hangman of Guernsey was a skilful hor- 
ticulturist, isolated, and avoided by all. His fellow-crea- 
tures having shunned him, he turned to Nature, and 
was no less skilful in the garden than on the gallows. 
Beasse, having no prejudices, employed him. 

Beasse then was in a good position on account of his 
money, even in view of the haughty aristocracy of Guern- 
sey, even of the forty and the sixty. 

TAPNEB. 279 

One day they noticed that his servant was very stout. 
Then they saw that she was thinner. What had become 
of the child? The neighbours were aroused; rumours 
were circulated. The police paid Beasse a visit ; two consta- 
bles came with a doctor. The doctor visited the servant, 
who was in bed ; then the constable said to Beasse, " The 
woman has been confined. There was a child ; we must 
find it." Beasse, who up to that moment had declared 
he did not know what they wanted, took a shovel, went 
into a corner of his garden, and began to dig furiously. 
One of the constables, thinking that he wished to give 
a blow with the spade to the object and pass the mark as 
an accidental wound, took the spade himself and con- 
tinued to dig more carefully. In a moment or so the 
child was discovered. The poor little thing had one 
larding-pin buried in its throat and another in the anus. 
Beasse denied that he was the father of the child. He 
was tried, condemned to be hanged, and it was his friend 
the bailiff, Daniel le Brocq, pronounced. 

His goods were confiscated. 

The provost, after relating this horrible narrative, said: 
" Beasse was deficient in coolness. By going himself to 
dig up the ground where the body was, he lost himself. 
He could easily have saved himself. He had only to say, 
' The child is dead. I gave it to a beggar who passed to 
bury it. I gave him a sovereign. I don't know who he 
is, and I should not know him again/ No one could 
have proved the contrary. No one would have known 
what had become of the child, and they could not have 
condemned him ; Guernsey being still ruled by the Nor- 
man custom, which insists on material proof corpus 
delicti before condemnation." 

The provost asked me, "Would you have advanced 
the question of the inviolability of human life for 
as you did for Tapner ? " 


"Unquestionably," I said. "This Tapner and this 
Beasse are miserable creatures, but the principles never 
assert their grandeur and beauty so well save when they 
defend those whom even pity does not defend." 

At the time that Beasse was condemned the Revolution 
of 1830 broke out. He then said to the same M. Martin, 
now provost, " I would rather remain in France to be 
shot than in Jersey to be hanged." 

Here is a detail. The bailiff was a friend of his, and 
had to pronounce on him ; his gardener was the hangman 
who executed him. The bailiff did not hesitate. But 
the gardener was different. Perhaps the gardener had 
lost touch of hanging. Perhaps his hands, after training 
roses and lilies, were incapable of making nooses. Per- 
haps, quite honestly, this legalized slayer was kinder 
than the law, and was disinclined to stretch the neck of 
the man with whom he had broken bread. At any rate, 
the day after the sentence the hangman of Guernsey dis- 
appeared. He escaped in some smuggling cutter, and left 
Saint-Peter's. They sought for him; they searched the 
island ; but he never returned. 

It became necessary to advertise. 

A man, an Englishman, was in prison for some offence. 
They offered him pardon if he would become the execu- 
tioner, and hang Beasse as a commencement. Men call 
that a pardon. The man accepted. Justice breathed 
again. She had seen a moment when her death's-head 
had nothing to devour, not that the upper jaw, the judge, 
had failed, but because the lower jaw, the hangman, had 

The day of execution arrived. 

They brought Beasse to the gallows, with the cord 
round hie neck, through the streets on to the beach. He 
was the last who suffered in this way. On the scaffold, 
at the moment when the white cap was being pulled over 

TAPNEE. 281 

his eyes, he turned towards the crowd, and as if he wished 
to leave one agony behind him, he threw at the specta- 
tors this phrase, which might have been spoken by a 
guilty as well as an innocent man: "It is only crime that 
dishonours ! " 

The platform was long in falling. They had no trap- 
door, and had to knock out a whole piece. It was fas- 
tened at the extremities to the planks by cords which it 
was necessary to cut on one side while it remained sus- 
pended on the other. The hangman, the pardoned 
prisoner, the same inexperienced wretch who, thirty- 
five years later, hanged Tapner, took an axe and cut 
the cord; but as he was nervous, he was a long time 
about it. The crowd murmured, and did not think of 
saving the culprit, though they nearly stoned the 

I had this scaffold over my head. 

I looked up, as the provost requested me to do. 

The hut in which we were had a pointed roof, of which 
the interior framework was naked. Under the beams of 
this roof, and precisely overhead, were placed two long 
joists, which had been the support of Beasse's gibbet 
At the upper end of these one could see the holes in 
which the transversal bar had been inserted, to which 
the cord was fastened. This bar had been taken out, 
and was lying with the joists. About the centre of these 
beams were nailed two kinds of wooden cushions, the 
projecting parts of which had sustained the platform of 
the gallows. These two beams, supported by the timber- 
work of the roof, themselves supported a massive, long, 
narrow plank, from the ends of which ropes hung. This 
plank was the platform of the gibbet, and those cords 
were the same which the hangman had been so long cut- 
ting. Behind one could perceive a kind of step-ladder, 
with flat wooden steps, lying near the platform* Beasse 


had mounted this. All this hideous machine supports, 
cross-beams, platform, ladder were painted iron-grey, 
and seemed to have been used more than once. The im- 
pressions of ropes could be seen on the beams here and 
there ; two or three long ladders of the ordinary form 
were leaning against the wall. 

Near these ladders, in an angle to our right, the pro- 
vost showed me a species of wooden trellis composed of 
many panels. 

" What is that ? " I asked him. " One would say it is a 
cage. It is, in fact, a cage." 

" It is the pillory," he replied. " It is fifteen or twenty 
years since they used to put that up in the market-place 
and expose criminals in it. It is now out of date." 

Like the gallows of Beasse, this cage was painted a 
dark grey. Formerly the cage was of iron ; then it was 
made of wood, and painted black to resemble iron ; then 
it was done away with. That is the history of all the 
old penalty, the future included. 

Dust and darkness now cover this apparatus of terror. 
It might be one of the dark corners of oblivion. Spiders 
have found this pillory-cage a very good place to spin 
their webs in and to catch flies. 

The platform of the old gibbet having acted badly for 
Beasse, they built a new one for Tapner. They adopted 
the English system of the trap, which opens under the 
patient. "An officer of the garrison invented for the 
opening of this trap a very ingenious mechanism," said 
the provost, "and he was executed." 

I returned to the scaffold of Beasse. Looking again 
at one of the ends of the cord, I could see the grooves 
which the axe in the trembling hands of the hangman 
had made. 

"Now, sir," said the provost, "turn round." 

He pointed out in the other compartment of the shed, 

TAFNEB. 283 

still up in the roof, a collection of beams having the red 
colour of the fir-tree. This was like a bundle of planks 
and beams thrown pell-mell together, among which one 
could distinguish a long and heavy ladder, with flat steps 
like the other, and which appeared to me enormous. 
They were all clean, new, fresh, and forbidding. This 
was the scaffold of Tapner. 

One could see the beams, one might distinguish the 
cross-beam, one could count the planks of the platform 
and the steps of the ladder. I was considering from the 
same point of view the ladder which had borne Beasse 
and the ladder which Tapner had climbed. My eyes 
could not detach themselves from those steps, which 
spectres had ascended, and to which they joined in 
the distance, in my mind's eye, the sombre steps of the 

The shed in which we were is composed of two build- 
ings, the geometrical plan of which presents a right angle, 
forms a T square. The opening of the square is occupied 
by a little triangular court, which makes one think 
of the knife of the guillotine. Grass grows between 
the paving-stones. The rain was falling there; it was 

This funereal shed formerly served as a stable for the 
country magistrates when they come to sit in the town. 
One can still see the numbers on the boxes in which 
they stabled their horses while they were on the bench. 
I stopped between the two posts marked 3 and 4. An 
old broken basket was lying on the ground at the bottom 
of the stall between the two posts ; above this stall they 
had placed the largest beams of the gibbet 

" Why do they keep them there ? " I said to the pro- 
vost. "Why, what you have them do? They would 
warm a poor family for the whole winter." 

Between the figures 3 and 4 one could perceive high 


up on the roof a startling object the trap that opened 
under the feet of Tapner. One could see it underneath, 
the massive black bolt, the hinges that turned upon 
eternity, and the two black joists which united the 
planks. One also distinguished the ingenious mechan- 
ism of which the provost had spoken. It is this too 
narrow trap which causes the agony. The culprit is 
caught by the shoulders and suspended. It is scarcely 
three feet square, which is not sufficient space, because 
of the oscillations of the cord. However, the provost 
explained that Tapner had been badly pinioned, that he 
had been permitted the movement of his arms; better 
tied, he would have fallen straight and would not have 
moved. The guardian of the shed had entered and joined 
us while the provost was speaking. When he had fin- 
ished the man added, " Yes, it was the bad pinioning of 
Tapner that did the mischief, otherwise it would have 
been magnificent." 

Coming out of the shed, the provost begged to take 
leave of me, and Mr. Tyrrell offered to conduct me to the 
house of the plasterer who had taken a cast of Tapner. 
I accepted. 

I know still so little of the streets of the town, which 
seems to be a labyrinth. 

We traversed many of the high streets of Saint Peter 
Port, in which grass grows, and we descended a wide 
street which plunges into one of the four or five ravines 
by which the town is intersected. Opposite a house, 
before which two cypresses, trimmed in the shape of 
cones, are growing, there is a stone-mason's. We entered 
the yard. At first sight, one is struck by the number 
of crosses and tomb-stones standing in the passage or 
against the walls. A workman, the only one in the shed, 
was fastening together some squares of faience. Mr. Tyr- 
rell spoke to him in English. " Yes, sir/' replied the 

TAPNER. 285 

workman, and he went to the planks in tiers at the end 
of the shed, searched among the plaster and the dust, and 
brought back in the one hand a mask, and in the other a 
head. These were the mask and the head of Tapner. 
The mask had been coloured pink the plaster of the 
head remained white. The mask had been modelled on 
the face having still the whiskers and the hair clinging 
to it ; then they had shaved the head and had moulded 
the skull, the face and the neck naked. Tapner was 
as celebrated in Guernsey as Lacenaire had been in 

As the provost had said, his face was strangely carved. 
It recalled to me, in a singular way, the admirable Hun- 
garian violinist liem^nyi. The physiognomy was youth- 
ful and grave, the eyes shut as if in sleep, only a little 
foam sufficiently thick for the plaster to have taken the 
impression had remained at the corner of the upper lid, 
which gives to the face, when regarded for a long while, 
a sort of ironical sneer. Although the elasticity of the 
flesh made the neck at the moment of moulding very 
nearly the natural size, the mark of the cord was plainly 
visible, and the running knot, distinctly imprinted under 
the right ear, had left a hideous swelling. 

I wanted to carry away this head. They sold it to me 
for three francs. 

It remained to me to make the third pause on this 
dolorous way, for crime has its own as well as virtue. 

" Where is Tapner's grave ? " I asked Tyrrell. 

He made a gesture and walked on ; I followed him. 

At Guernsey, as in all English cities, the cemetery is in 
the town in the midst of the streets. Behind the col- 
lege, a massive building in English Gothic, which domi- 
nates the whole town, there is one of these cemeteries, 
the largest, perhaps, in Saint Peter Port A street had 
been cut through it in the early years of the century, and 


it is now in two parts. On the western side lie the 
Guernsey people, on the eastern side the strangers. 

We passed up the street through the cemetery, which, 
planted with trees, has scarcely any houses in it, and 
above the walls which border it one can see tomb-stones 
upright or flat on either side. 

Mr. Tyrrell showed me an open door on the right, and 
said to me, " It is here." 

We passed through into the strangers* portion of the 

We found ourselves in a long parallelogram, enclosed 
by walls, grass-grown, in which some tombs are scattered. 
There was no rain, the grass was damp, and the long grey 
clouds were sweeping slowly along the sky. 

As we entered we heard the sound of a pickaxe. The 
noise ceased, and a living bust seemed to emerge from 
the ground at the end of the cemetery, and regard us in 

It was the grave-digger, who was digging a grave, and 
standing in it waist-deep. 

He ceased working when he saw us, not being accus- 
tomed to the entrance of living bodies, and not being the 
landlord except in an hotel of the dead. 

We walked towards him over the tombs. He was a 
young man. There was behind him a stone already 
mossy, and on which one could read : 


16M June, 1844. 

As we were approaching him he resumed his work. 
When we reached the edge of the grave he looked up, 
saw us, and tapped the ground with his spade. The 
ground sounded hollow. The man said to us, " There is 
a dead body there which bothers me." Then we under- 

TAPNEB. 287 

stood that he had met with an old grave in the course of 
digging a new one. 

Having said that, without waiting our reply, and as if 
he were talking less to us than to himself, he bent down 
and commenced to dig without troubling himself any 
more about us. One would have said that his eyes were 
full of the darkness of the grave, and he could see us no 

I spoke to him. 

" Are you the man," I said, " who buried Tapner ? " 

He straightened himself, and looked at me like a man 
who was searching in his memory. 

"Tapner? "said he. 


" The fellow who was hanged ? " 

" Yes ; did you bury him ? " 

" No," replied the man. " It was Mr. Morris, the care- 
taker of the cemetery. I am only a digger myself." 

There seems to be a hierarchy among grave-diggers. 

I resumed, 

" Can you point out the grave to me ? " 

"Whose grave?" 

" Tapner's." 

The man replied, 

" Close to the other man who was hanged.** 

" Show me the place." 

He stretched his arm out of the grave, and indicated 
a spot near the gate by which we had entered, a grassy 
corner, about fifteen paces square, where there were no 
tombs. The tomb-stones which filled the cemetery ex- 
tended to the borders of this funereal square, and stopped 
there, as if it were a line it could not pass even in death. 
The nearest stone backed against the wall of the street 
bore this epitaph, below which one might read four lines 
in English, which were hidden by the bushes : 





I entered into the solitary square which the grave- 
digger pointed out. I advanced slowly, my gaze bent on 
the ground. Suddenly I felt under my feet a hillock, 
which I had not seen because of the height of the grass. 
This was where they had buried Tapner. 

Tapner's grave is very near the entrance to the ceme- 
tery, at the foot of a small hut, where the grave-diggers 
leave their tools. This hut adjoins, gable fashion, to a 
large building, of which the high door occupies the whole 
side. The wall which skirts the square in which Tapner 
is buried is skirted by a penthouse, under which are sus- 
pended four or five kdders, fastened with chains and 
padlocked. At the place where the ladders cease the 
tombs commence. The benediction and the malediction 
are side by side in the cemetery, but they do not mingle. 
Wear the shed one distinguishes another eminence, more 
elongated, and not so prominent as that of Tapner. This 
is where Beasse is buried. 

I spoke to the grave-digger. 

" Do you know where the hangman lives who hanged 
Tapner ? " 

" The hangman is dead," he replied 

"When did he die?" 

"Three months after Tapner/' 

" Did you bury him ? " 


"Is he here?" 

TAPNXE. 289 

"I don't think so/* 
"Do you know where he is ?" 
" I do not know." 

I snatched a handful of grass from the grave of Tap- 
ner, put it in my pocket-book, and came away. 

VOL, zxiv. 19 



October 1. 

I WENT to see M. Thiers for Rochefort. At half-past 
twelve left for Versailles. In the train a man with 
yellow gloves seemed to recognize me, and regarded me 

Reached Versailles at half-past one. Rain and sun- 
shine. At two o'clock I entered the prefecture where M. 
Thiers lives. I was conducted into a room draped with 
crimson silk. 

Thiers entered immediately afterwards. He shook 
hands with me, and led me to a private room where was 
a fire, where we chatted for a long while cordially. I 
congratulated him on what he had done for the liberation 
of the country, and added, " But there is a great gulf be- 
tween my opinion and yours. Between us there are dis- 
cords, but an approach of mind is possible. We cannot 
hope for any official commutation for Rochefort, but in 
default of that we may have a commutation in fact." 
That is what I obtained from Thiers for Rochefort. 

Rochefort will not be sent away yet. He will undergo 
his punishment in a French fortress. I have appealed 
again against a fortress, against Belle Isle, against Mont 

Thiers has said, " I take note of your wishes ; I will do 
my best" I requested Nice. Rochefort will be able to 
see his family as much as he pleases. So as he must 
live, he will be able to write the history of Napoleon IIL 


as he wishes to do ; and then, in six or seven months, the 
amnesty will be proclaimed and he will be free. 

I must say that Thiers has gone a good deal into de- 
tail. He has particularly related to me the private 
scenes in the Assembly and in the councils of war, and 
his conversation with the Emperor of Austria about the 
Emperor of Germany, whom the Emperor of Austria calls 
" my uncle." Suddenly he stopped and remarked, " I 
have said too much." Then continuing, he remarked, " No ; 
I know I have an honest man to deal with," and I told 
him he might rest assured. For this reason I do not 
relate the conversation more in detail. 

He said, " I am, like you, a conquered man with the 
air of a conqueror. I discount, like yourself, all these 
injurious attacks. A hundred journals drag my name in 
the gutter every morning, but I do not read them." I 
replied, " That is precisely my case, and," I added, " to 
read offensive articles is to breathe the bad odour of your 
reputation." He laughed and shook me by the hand. 

I called his attention to the atrocities already com- 
mitted, and I pledged him not to execute any of the 

I begged that he would muzzle those people in epaulets. 
I insisted on an amnesty, and he replied, " I am only a 
poor devil of a dictator in a black coat." 

The interview began at a quarter-past two, and lasted 
until half-past three. 

At four o'clock I started for Paris. 

In the train were two young officers fresh from Saint- 
Cyr, and .a young woman with a young man, probably 
her husband. She was reading a paper, probably the 
" Eclipse," in which was a caricature of Henry V. by 
Gill. I was looking at Sfevres and the woods of Meudon. 
Suddenly the young woman pointed to a line in the 
paper, and said, " Ah ! d la bonne hcure, Victor Hugo." 


" Take care," said the young man, " he is there." And he 
pointed me out discreetly. The young woman took my 
hat, which was in the rack, kissed the crape on it, and 
then she said to me, 

" You have suffered greatly, sir. Continue to defend 
the vanquished." Then she wept 

I kissed her hand. She was a charming creature, and 
had beautiful eyes. 

I assisted her to descend from the train at Paris, and 
after saluting her we lost ourselves respectively in the 



December 31. 

I HAVE had for friends and allies, I have seen succes- 
sively pass before me, and according to the changes 
and chances of destiny, I have received in my house, 
sometimes in intimacy, chancellors, peers, dukes. Pas- 
quier, Pont^coulant, Montalembert, Bellune; and cele- 
brated men, Lamennais, Lamartine, Chateaubriand ; 
presidents of the Republic, Manin ; leaders of revolution, 
Louis Blanc, Montanelli, Arago, Heliade ; leaders of the 
people, Garibaldi, Mazzini, Kossuth, Microslawski ; artists, 
Rossini, David d'Angers, Pradier, Meyerbeer, Eugfene 
Delacroix; marshals, Soult, Mackau; Serjeants, Boni, 
Heurtebise; bishops, the Cardinal of Besanc^on, M. de 
Rohan, the Cardinal of Bordeaux, M. Donnet ; and come- 
dians, Frederick Lemaitre, Mile. Rachel, Mile. Mars, Mme. 
Dorval, Macready; ministers and ambassadors, Moli, 
Guizot, Thiers, Lord Palmerston, Lord Normanby, M. de 
Ligne ; and of peasants, Charles Durand ; princes, impe- 
rial and royal highnesses and plain highnesses, such as 
the Duke of Orleans, Ernest of Saxe-Coburg, the Princess 
of Canine, Louis Charles Pierre, and Napoleon Bonaparte; 
and of shoemakers, Guay ; of kings and emperors, Jerome 
of Westphalia, Max of Bavaria, the Emperor of Brazil ; 
and of thorough revolutionists, Bourillon. I have had 
sometimes in my hands the gloved and white palm of the 
upper class and the heavy black hand of the lower class, 


and have recognized that both are but men. After all 
these have passed before me, I say that Humanity has a 
synonym Equality; and that under Heaven there is 
but one thing we ought to bow to Genius ; and only 
one thing before which we ought to kneel Goodness. 


Portrait of y<*liaire. 

Original Etching by S, A. Schoff. 



December, 1823. 

FRANCOIS MARIE AROUET, so celebrated under 
the name of Voltaire, was born at Chatenay on 
the 20th of February, 1694. His family belonged to the 
magistracy. He was educated by the Jesuits at the 
college of Louis le Grand, and one of his teachers, Father 
Lejay, we are told, predicted that he would be the 
corypheus of deism in France. 

Hardly had Arouet left college, where his faculties 
had sprung to life with all the strength and ingenuous- 
ness of youth, when he encountered an inflexible father 
on the one hand, and a suave corrupter on the other. 
The latter was his godfather, the Abb de Ch&teauneuf. 
The father condemned all literary studies without know- 
ing why, and consequently with insurmountable ob- 
stinacy. The godfather, on the contrary, encouraged 
the essays of Arouet, and showed a great liking for 
verses, especially such as breathed a decided savour of 
licentiousness or impiety. The one would imprison the 
poet in a lawyer's office ; the other led, or rather misled, 
the young man into all the salons. M. Arouet forbade 
all reading to his son. Ninon de Lenclos bequeathed a 
library to the pupil of her friend Ch&teauneuf. Thus 
at its birth the genius of Voltaire was unfortunately 
subjected to two opposite and equally fatal forces, one 

298 ESSAYS. 

tending to stifle that sacred fire which cannot be extin- 
guished; the other feeding it thoughtlessly at the ex- 
pense of all that is noble and worthy in the intellectual 
order as well as in the social order. These are the two 
contrary impulses, stamped at the same time on the first 
flight of this powerful imagination, which vitiated its di- 
rection forever. At least we may attribute to them the 
first aberrations of the talent of Voltaire, vexed in this 
fashion at once by the bridle and the spur. 

We need not be astonished then, if at the very be- 
ginning of his career, certain verses, poor and point- 
less enough, were attributed to him and lodged him in 
the Bastille, a somewhat rigorous punishment for bad 
rhymes. It was during this enforced leisure that Vol- 
taire, at the age of twenty-two, sketched the outline of 
his tiresome poem the "Ligue," afterwards the "Hen- 
riade," and finished his noteworthy drama "Oedipe." 
After some months in the Bastille, he was freed and 
pensioned at the same time by the Regent Orleans, whom 
he thanked for taking care of his board, but begged that 
he might be allowed henceforth to take care of his 
lodging himself. 

"Oedipe" was played with success in 1718. Lamotte, 
the oracle of the period, deigned to consecrate the 
triumph by a few sacramental words, and the fame of 
Voltaire began its course. To-day, Lamotte is immortal 
only perhaps because he is named in the writings of 

The tragedy of " ArWmise " succeeded the " Oedipe." 
It fell flat. Voltaire went on a trip to Brussels to see 
J. B. Rousseau, to whom, oddly enough, the epithet great 
has been attached. The two poets were full of respect 
for each other before meeting. They separated enemies. 
It has been said that they were mutually jealous, which 
could hardly be a sign of superiority in either. 


" Artemise," recast and played in 1724 under the name 
of " Marianne," had considerable success, though its new 
form was by no means an improvement on the old. 
France had not so far had an epic poem ; but the " ligue " 
or the " Henriade " appeared at this time. Voltaire sub- 
stituted Mornay for Sully in his work, because he had 
grounds of complaint against the descendant of the great 
minister. The vengeance seems hardly worthy of a 
philosopher ; there is, however, some excuse for Voltaire, 
who had been insulted in a cowardly fashion in front of 
the Hotel de Sully by a certain Chevalier de Rohan, and 
finding no redress in the law, he adopted the only 
retaliation in his power. 

Justly indignant at the refusal of the courts to deal 
with his contemptible antagonist, Voltaire, who was now 
a celebrity, withdrew into England where he devoted 
himself to the study of some of the sophists of that 
nation. Still all his leisure was not wasted ; he com- 
posed two new tragedies, "Brutus" and"Csar," many 
scenes of which Corneille might have acknowledged. 

After returning to France, he gave in succession the 
" ISryphile," which was a failure, and " Zaire," a master- 
piece planned and finished in eighteen days. It is de- 
fective only in local colouring and from the absence of a 
certain severity of style. The success of "Zaire" was 
prodigious, and it was well deserved. The tragedy of 
" Adelaide du Guesclin " (afterwards the " Due de Foix ") 
succeeded " Zaire," but was far from attaining the same 
success. Some publications of a less important charac- 
ter, the "Temple du Gofit," "Lettres sur les anglais," 
etc., troubled the life of Voltaire for several years. 

However, his name was already spreading over Europe. 
Retiring to Cirey, where he lived in the household of the 
Marquise du Chatelet, a lady, in the words of Voltaire, 
fit for all sciences except the science of life, he tried to 

300 ESSAYS. 

dull his fine imagination by studying algebra and geome- 
try, wrote "Alzire," "Mahomet," the sprightly "His- 
toire de Charles XIL," collected materials for the " Sifecle 
de Louis XIV," prepared the " Essai sur les moeurs des 
nations," and sent madrigals to Frederick, Crown Prince 
of Prussia. "Mdrope," also composed at Cirey, set the 
seal on the dramatic reputation of Voltaire. He thought 
he might now present himself for admission to the 
French Academy and fill the chair of Cardinal de Fleury. 
He was not received. So far he had nothing but genius 
to back him. But some time after, he set himself the 
task of flattering Madame de Pompadour, and this with 
such obstinate and complacent servility that he obtained, 
at the same time, the academic chair, the post of gentle- 
man of the bedchamber, and the office of historiographer 
of France. His favour was not of long duration. Vol- 
taire found a refuge now at Lun&ville with Stanislas, the 
good King of Poland and Duke of Lorraine ; now with 
Madame du Maine, at Sceaux, where he wrote the " S^mi- 
ramis, Oreste," and " Home Sauvde ; " and again at Berlin 
with Frederick, become King of Prussia. He passed 
several years in the last retreat with the title of cham- 
berlain, the Prussian cross of merit and a pension. He 
was admitted to the royal suppers along with Mauper- 
tuis, D' Argens, and Lamettrie, atheist of the king, of 
that king, who, like Voltaire himself, lived without 
court, without council, and without worship. It was not 
the sublime friendship of Aristotle and Alexander, of 
Terence and Scipio. A few years of friction sufficed 
to wear out all that the soul of the despot philosopher 
and the soul of the sophist poet had in common. Vol- 
taire wished to escape from Berlin. Frederick hunted 

Dismissed by Prussia, rejected by France, Voltaire 
spent two years in Germany, where, to oblige the 


Duchess of Saxe-Gotha, he compiled and published the 
"Annales de 1'Empire;" then he planted himself at 
the gates of Geneva with his niece, Madame Denis. 

The " Orphelin de la Chine," a tragedy in which nearly 
every characteristic of his talent is conspicuous, was 
the first fruit of this retreat, in which he would have 
lived in peace, if greedy booksellers had not pub- 
lished his odious " Pucelle." It was also at this period 
and in his different residences of Les Ddlices, Tournay, 
and Ferney, that he wrote the poem on the " Earthquake 
of Lisbon," the tragedy of " Tancrfede," some tales, and a 
number of his minor productions. It was then he de- 
fended, with a generosity in which there was too great an 
admixture of ostentation, Galas, Sirven, La Barre, Mont- 
balli, and Lalli, those lamentable victims of judicial mis- 
takes. It was then he quarrelled with Jean Jacques, 
gained the friendship of Catherine of Russia, for whom he 
wrote the history of her ancestor Peter the Great, and 
became reconciled to Frederick. It is from the same 
time that his co-operation in the " Encyclopedic " dates, 
a work in which men who tried to show their strength 
have only shown their weakness, a monstrous monument 
of which the " Moniteur " of our Revolution is the fright- 
ful sequel. 

When borne down by the weight of years, Voltaire 
wished to see Paris once more. He returned to that 
Babylon which was in sympathy with his genius. Hailed 
by universal acclamations the unhappy old man was en- 
abled to see before his death how much his work had 
advanced, was enabled to be delighted or terrified by his 
glory. His vital power no longer sufficed to support the 
emotions of the journey, and Paris witnessed his death on 
the 30th of May, 1778. The freethinkers claimed that he 
carried with him his^ infidelity to the tomb. We shall 
not follow him there. 

302 ESSAYa 

We have related the private life of Voltaire : we must 
now try to paint his public and private existence. 

To name Voltaire is to characterize the whole eighteenth 
century; it is to fix at one stroke the historical and 
literary physiognomy of this epoch, which was, after all, 
only a period of transition, for society as well as for 
poetry. The eighteenth century will always appear in 
history as a century stifled between the age that pre- 
cedes and the age that follows it. Voltaire is its principal 
and in some sort its typical representative, and, however 
prodigious the man may be, his proportions seem paltry 
enough between the great image of Louis XIV. and the 
gigantic figure of Napoleon. 

There are two beings in Voltaire. His life had two 
influences. His writings had two results. It is on this 
twofold action, controlling literature on the one side, 
manifested in events on the other, we wish to dwell for 
a moment We shall study separately each of these two 
influences of the genius of Voltaire. We must not forget, 
however, that their double power was intimately co-ordi- 
nated, and that the effects of this power, rather inter- 
mingled than interlinked, have always had something 
simultaneous and common. If, in this note, we examine 
them separately, it is solely because it would be beyond 
our strength to embrace at a single glance a unity that 
eludes our grasp. In this we imitate the artifice of those 
oriental artists, who, finding that they are incapable of 
representing an entire face, succeed in giving a tolerable 
idea of the human countenance by painting two profiles 
and enclosing them in a frame. 

In literature Voltaire has left one of those monuments 
whose appearance is astonishing from its size rather than 
imposing from its grandeur. There is nothing august in 
the edifice he has constructed. It is not the palace of 
kings, nor is it the shelter of the poor. It is a bazaar, vast 


and elegant, irregular and convenient; making a dis- 
play of countless wealth amid surrounding filth ; supply- 
ing all interests, all vanities, and all passions with what 
exactly suits them ; dazzling and fetid ; an exchange of 
prostitutions and pleasures ; peopled by vagabonds, mer- 
chants, and idlers, but seldom the resort of the priest or 
of the needy. Here, you see brilliant galleries thronged 
incessantly by astonished crowds ; there, secret caverns 
which no one cares to boast of having entered. Under 
these sumptuous arcades you will find a thousand master- 
pieces of taste and art, everything resplendent with gold 
and diamonds ; but do not look for the statue of bronze 
with its antique and severe lines. You will find orna- 
ments for your salons and boudoirs ; do not look for 
such decorations as beseem the sanctuary. And woe to 
the weakling whose soul is his entire fortune, if he expose 
it to the seductions of this magnificent den, this mon- 
strous temple in which there are testimonies for all that 
which is not truth, adoration for all that which is not 

Certainly though we may wish to speak of a monu- 
ment of this kind with admiration, we cannot be required 
to speak of it with respect. 

We would pity a city in which the bazaar was crowded, 
and the church deserted ; we would pity a literature that 
abandoned Corneille and Bossuet to run in the traces of 

Far from us the thought, nevertheless, of denying the 
genius of this extraordinary man. It is because of our 
conviction that this genius was perhaps one of the finest 
ever bestowed on a writer that we deplore with the 
greater bitterness its frivolous and destructive employ- 
ment. We regret, for his own sake as well as for the 
sake of literature, that he turned against Heaven the in- 
tellectual power he had received from Heaven. We 

804 ESSAYS. 

bewail the glorious genius that did not comprehend its 
sublime mission. We sorrow over the ingrate who has 
profaned the chastity of his Muse and the sanctity of his 
country, over the deserter who did not remember that 
the tripod of the poet has its place close by the altar. 
And, it is a profound and inevitable truth, his very 
crime contained its chastisement. His glory is much 
less great than it might have been, because he aimed at 
every species of glory, even at that of Erostates. He 
has cleared all fields, he cannot be said to have cultivated 
any. And because he had the guilty ambition of sowing 
in them nutritive germs and venomous germs with equal 
impartiality, to his eternal shame, it is the poisons that 
have borne most fruit. The "Henriade," as a literary 
composition, is very inferior to the " Pucelle," which 
does not at all mean that this vicious work is among the 
best, even of its shameful class. His satires, sometimes 
branded with an infernal impress, are very much superior 
to his most innocent comedies. His lighter verses, often 
instinct with shameless cynicism, are preferred to his 
lyric poems, in which religious and weighty verses are 
occasionally found. 1 His tales, in fine, so cheerless in 
their incredulity and scepticism, are far above his his- 
tories, where the same defect is felt a little less percep- 
tibly, but where the perpetual absence of dignity is out 
of harmony with the very nature of this class of litera- 
ture. As to his tragedies, in which he really shows 
himself a great poet, often finding the true touches of 

1 Count de Maistre; in his severe and remarkable portrait of Voltaire, 
observes that his odes are worthless, and attributes this worthlessness 
with reason to his want of enthusiasm. Voltaire, in fact, applied himself 
to lyric poetry with reluctance, and solely for the purpose of justifying 
his claim to universality. All real enthusiasm was foreign to him ; he 
knew no true emotion except that of anger, and even his anger never 
went as far as indignation, that indignation which makes the poet, as 
Juvenal says, facit indtgnatio vertum. 


character and words fresh from the heart, it cannot be 
denied that, in spite of some admirable scenes, he is still 
very far from Racine, and still farther from Corneille. 
And our opinion on this point will be the less suspected, 
as a deep study of the dramatic work of Voltaire has 
convinced us of his signal superiority on the theatre. 
We are inclined to believe that if Voltaire, instead of 
scattering the colossal forces of his thought over twenty 
different points, had combined them in one single direc- 
tion, tragedy, he might have surpassed Racine and, per- 
haps, equalled Corneille. But he expended his genius in 
witty sallies. He was, therefore, marvellously sprightly 
and sparkling, and the seal of his genius is impressed 
rather on the vast entirety of his works than on any one 
of them in particular. Ever absorbed by his age, he was 
too neglectful of posterity, that austere image which 
should tower above all the meditations of the poet En- 
gaged in a capricious and frivolous struggle with his 
capricious and frivolous contemporaries, he wished at 
once to please and flout them. His Muse, who would 
have been so beautiful if she had been content to rely on 
her beauty, often borrowed her charms from the colours 
of the paint-box and the grimaces of coquetry, and we 
are constantly tempted to address her in these words of 
the jealous lover : 

" Why give yourself such trouble ? Art for you was not 
invented, you require it not" 

Voltaire appeared to ignore the fact that there is much 
grace in strength, and that whatever is sublimest in the 
works of the human intellect is also, perhaps, that which 
is most simple. Imagination can reveal its heavenly 
origin without having recourse to foreign artifices. She 
has but to walk to show that she is a goddess. Et vera 
incessu patuit dea. 

If it were possible to summarize the manifold idea 
. xxr?. so 

306 ESSAYS. 

which the literary existence of Voltaire presents, we 
could only class it among those prodigies which the 
Latins call monstra. Voltaire, in truth, is a phenomenon, 
a phenomenon perhaps unique which could only arise 
in France and in the eighteenth century. There is this 
difference between his literature and that of the great 
century preceding him, that Corneille, Molifere, and Pascal 
belonged more to society, Voltaire to civilization. We feel, 
when reading him, that he is the writer of an enervated 
and feeble age. He has a certain pleasantness but no 
grace, a certain brilliancy but no real charm, a certain 
lustre but no majesty. He can flatter but he cannot con- 
sole. He fascinates but does not persuade. Except in 
tragedy, which was his native element, he lacks tender- 
ness and sincerity. We feel that everything is the 
result of an organization, and not the effect of an inspira- 
tion ; and, though it is an atheist physician who tells you 
that all Voltaire was in his sinews and in his nerves, you 
acknowledge with a shudder that he is right. Moreover, 
like another ambitious personage of later days, who 
aspired to political supremacy, it is in vain that Voltaire 
has aimed at literary supremacy. Absolute monarchy is 
not suitable to man. If Voltaire had understood what 
is true greatness, he would have placed his glory in unity 
rather than in universality. Strength is not revealed by 
a perpetual changing of place, by indefinite metamor- 
phoses, but rather by a majestic immobility. Force is 
Jupiter not Proteus. 

Here begins the second part of our task; it will be 
shorter, because, thanks to the French Revolution, the 
political results of Voltaire's philosophy are unfortu- 
nately frightfully notorious. It would, however, be su- 
premely unjust to attribute that -fatal revolution to the 
writings of the " patriarch of Ferney " alone. We must 
above all see in it the effect of a social decomposition 


commenced long before. Voltaire and the age in which 
he lived may reciprocally accuse and excuse each other. 
Too strong to obey his time, Voltaire was also too weak 
to control it. From this equality of influence there re- 
sulted a perpetual reaction between himself and his 
century, a mutual exchange of impieties and follies, a 
continual flux and reflux of innovations, which in their 
oscillations always carried away some old pillar of the 
social edifice. Let us only consider the political features 
of the eighteenth century, the scandals of the Eegency, 
the turpitudes of Louis XV. ; violence in the ministry, 
violence in the parliaments, force nowhere ; moral cor- 
ruption descending by degrees from the head to the 
heart, from the great to the people ; the prelates of the 
court and the abb^s of the boudoir; the ancient mon- 
archy, the ancient society staggering on their common 
foundation, and no longer opposing to the attacks of the 
innovators anything except the magic of that glorious 
name Bourbon ; l let us fancy Voltaire flung into this 
society in dissolution like a serpent into a swamp, and 
we shall no longer be astonished at seeing the contagious 
action of his thought hasten the end of that political 
order which Montaigne and Rabelais in vain assailed in 
its youth and vigour. It was not he who rendered the 
disease mortal, but it was he who developed its germ, 
and increased the malignity of the outburst All the 
venom of Voltaire was needed in order to set this dung- 
heap in effervescence; and, therefore, a great many of 
the monstrous occurrences of the Revolution may be 
justly attributed to this unhappy man. As to the Revo- 
lution itself, it was natural that it should be unprece- 
dented. Providence wished to place it between the most 

1 The universal demoralization must have cast its roots deep, when 
Heaven sent withont avail, towards the end of this century, Lonis XVL, 
that venerable martyr, whose virtue rose even to sanctity. 


formidable of the sophists and the most formidable of 
the despots. At its dawn, Voltaire appeared in a fune- 
real saturnalia; 1 at its decline, Bonaparte arose amid 

1 Translation of the remains of Voltaire to the Pantheon* 



Jane, 1823. 

SURELY there is something strange and marvellous 
in the talent of this man, who disposes of his 
reader as the wind disposes of a leaf ; who leads him at 
his will into all places and into all times; unveils for 
him with ease the most secret recesses of the heart, as 
well as the most mysterious phenomena of nature, as 
well as the obscurest pages of history ; whose imagina- 
tion caresses and dominates all other imaginations, clothes 
with the same astonishing truth the beggar with his 
rags and the king with his robes, assumes all manners, 
adopts all garbs, speaks all languages; leaves to the 
physiognomy of the ages all that is immutable and 
eternal in their lineaments, traced there by the wisdom 
of God, and all that is variable and fleeting, planted 
there by the follies of men ; does not force, like certain 
ignorant romancers, the personages of the past to colour 
themselves with our brushes and smear themselves with 
our varnish; but compels, by his magic power, the con- 
temporary reader to imbue himself, at least for some 
hours, with the spirit of the old times, to-day so much 
scorned, like a wise and adroit adviser inviting ungrateful 
children to return to their father. The skilful magician 
desires above all, however, to be correct He does not 
refuse his pen to any truth, not even to that which 
springs from the portraiture of error, that daughter of 

310 ESSAYS. 

men who might be believed immortal if her changing 
and capricious humour left us at all in doubt as to her 
claims to eternity. Few historians are as faithful as 
this romancer. We feel that he wishes his portraits to 
be pictures and his pictures portraits. He paints for us 
our forefathers with all their passions, their vices, and 
their crimes, but in such sort that the instability of 
superstition and the impiety of fanaticism but serve to 
show forth more vividly the perpetuity of religion and 
the sanctity of beliefs. We delight in finding again our 
ancestors with their prejudice, often so noble and salu- 
tary, as well as with their splendid plumes and stout 

Walter Scott has been able to draw from the springs 
of nature and truth an unknown species. It is new to 
us, because he makes himself as ancient as he wills. He 
unites to the minute exactness of the chronicles the 
majestic grandeur of history and the all-compelling inter- 
est of romance. His potent and curious genius divines 
the past ; his true pencil traces a faithful portrait after 
a confused shadow, and forces us to recognize even what 
we have not seen ; his flexible and solid mind takes the 
peculiar impress of every age and of every country, like 
soft wax, and preserves this impress for posterity like 
imperishable bronze. 

Few writers have so well fulfilled as Walter Scott the 
duties of the romancer in relation to his art and to his 
age; for it would be an almost culpable error in the 
man of letters to believe himself above the general inter- 
est and above national needs, to exempt his mind from 
all action over the minds of his contemporaries, and to 
isolate his life from the great life of the social body. 
What voice is likely to rise in the tempest if not that of 
the lyre which can calm it? And who will brave the 
hatreds of anarchism and the disdain of despotism, if not 


he to whom ancient wisdom assigned the task of recon- 
ciling nations and kings, and to whom modern wisdom 
has given that of dividing them ? 

It is not, then, to mawkish gallantries, to paltry in- 
trigues, or coarse adventures that Walter Scott devotes 
his talent Warned by the instinct of his glory, he has 
felt that something else was needed by a generation that 
has just written with its blood and with its tears the 
most extraordinary page of all human histories. The 
times which immediately preceded and immediately fol- 
lowed our convulsive Revolution were such periods of 
weakness as persons in a fever experience before and 
after their paroxysms. Then books the most stupidly 
atrocious, the most vapidly impious, the most monstrously 
obscene, were greedily devoured by a diseased society, 
whose depraved tastes and blunted faculties rejected all 
palatable and healthy nourishment. It is this which 
explains those scandalous triumphs, awarded at the time 
by the plebeians of the drawing-room and the patricians 
of the coffee-house to certain insipid or obscene writers 
whom we disdain to name, who are to-day reduced to the 
necessity of begging the applause of lackeys and the 
smiles of prostitutes. Now, popularity is no longer dis- 
tributed by the populace ; it springs from the only source 
that can impress on it a character of immortality as well 
as of universality, from the suffrage of that minority of 
discriminating minds, of exalted souls and sober heads, 
that represent morally all civilized peoples. It is this 
which Scott has obtained, borrowing as he does from the 
annals of nations compositions made for all nations, and 
from the records of ages works written for all ages. No 
romancer ever hid so much teaching under so much 
witchery, so much truth under so much fiction. There 
is a visible alliance between the form he has made his 
own and all the literary forms of the past and of the 

312 ESSAYS. 

future, and the epic romances of Scott may be considered 
as a transition from the literature of the present to the 
grand romances, the grand epics in verse or in prose 
which our poetic era promises and will give us. 

What should be the intention of the romancer ? It 
should be to express through the medium of an interest- 
ing fable a useful truth. And when once this fundamen- 
tal idea is chosen, this explanatory action is invented, 
should not the author seek for its development a method 
of execution which gives to his romance the semblance 
of life, which gives to the imitation the likeness of its 
model ? And is not life a singular drama in which the 
good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the high 
and the low are intermingled, a law whose power only 
expires beyond creation ? Should, then, the writer limit 
himself, like some Flemish painters, to the composition 
of pictures altogether dark, or like the Chinese, to that 
of pictures entirely luminous, since Nature everywhere 
shows the struggle between light and darkness ? Now 
romancers, before Walter Scott, adopted two distinctly 
antagonistic methods of composition ; both vicious pre- 
cisely because they are antagonistic. The one class gave 
to their work the form of a narrative arbitrarily divided 
into chapters, without very well knowing why, or for 
the purpose of relaxing the tension of the reader, as the 
title descan&o (rest), placed at the head of his chapters 
by an old Spanish author, innocently confesses. 1 The 
others unfold their fable in a series of letters, supposed 
to be written by the different actors in the romance. In 
the narrative, the characters disappear, the author is ever 
in front ; in the letters, the author passes out of sight so 
that the characters alone may come into view. The nar- 
rative romancer cannot give place to natural dialogue, to 
real action; he must substitute for these a certain monoto- 
* Kara* Obregon de la Honda. 


nous movement of style, which is as it were a mould in 
which the most diverse events take the same form, and 
under which the most elevated creations, the most pro- 
found inventions, are lost, just as the inequalities of a 
field are levelled under the roller. In the romance by 
letters, the same monotony springs from another cause. 
The several characters arrive each in their turn with 
their several epistles after the manner of those strolling 
actors, who, as they can only appear after one another, 
appear in succession with a big placard above their heads 
which informs the public of their various roles. Again, 
the romance by letters may be compared to those labo- 
rious conversations of deaf-mutes who write in turn what 
they have to say to each other, so that to express their 
anger or their joy they must have constantly a pen in the 
hand and a note-book in the pocket. Now I ask, where 
is the appropriateness of a tender reproach which you 
must carry to the post-office? And is not the stormy 
explosion of passion a little hampered between the obli- 
gatory preamble and the polite formula which are the 
vanguard and the rearguard of every letter written by 
the well-born ? Do you believe that the procession of 
the compliments and the baggage of the civilities acceler- 
ate the progress of the interest and hasten on the march 
of the action ? Ought we not, then, to suppose some 
radical and insurmountable defect in a kind of composi- 
tion which has sometimes succeeded in chilling even the 
eloquence of Rousseau ? 

Now let us assume that for the narrative romance, in 
which everything would seem to be thought of except the 
interest, in which the absurd custom is adopted of usher- 
ing in every chapter by a summary, often very detailed, 
the story of a story as it were; let us assume that for the 
epistolary romance, whose very form forbids all vehe- 
mence and all rapidity, some creative mind should sub- 

314 ESSAYS. 

statute the dramatic romance, in which the dramatic 
action is unfolded in true and varied tableaux, just as the 
events of real life are unfolded ; which should know of 
no other division than that of the different scenes to be 
developed ; which, in fine, would be a long drama, where 
descriptions take the place of decorations and costumes, 
where the characters are delineated by themselves, and 
represent, by their various and multiplied movements, all 
the forms of the individual idea of the work. You will 
find in this new species the advantages of the two old 
species united without their drawbacks. Having at your 
disposal the picturesque and, in some sort, magical activi- 
ties of the drama, you can leave behind the scene those 
thousand tedious and transitory details which the mere 
narrator, obliged to follow his actors step by step, as if 
they were children in leading strings, must expound at 
length, if he does not wish to be obscure ; and you can 
turn to account those intense and sudden strokes more 
fruitful for meditation than entire pages flashing from the 
movements of a scene, but excluded by the rapidity of a 

After the picturesque but prosaic romance of Walter 
Scott, another kind of romance will have still to be cre- 
ated, in our opinion of a finer and more finished kind. 
It will be the romance which is at once dramatic and 
epic, picturesque but poetic, real but ideal, true but grand, 
Walter Scott and Homer in combination. 

Like every creator, Walter Scott has up to the present 
hour been assailed by infuriate critics. He who drains 
a swamp must resign himself to the croaking of the frogs 
around him. 

For our part, we fulfil a conscientious duty in placing 
Sir Walter Scott very high among romancers, and " Quen- 
tin Durward " in particular, very high among romances. 
It would be hard to find a book better interwoven, and 


one in which the moral effect is better linked with the 
dramatic effect. 

The author has wished, in our view, to demonstrate how 
much more certain loyalty, though found among the 
obscure, the young and the poor, is likely to obtain its 
purpose than perfidy, though aided by all the resources 
of power, riches, and experience. The first of these rDles 
is embodied by a young Scotchman, Quentin Durward, 
an orphan, wrecked on all kinds of shoals, exposed to the 
best laid snares, without other compass to guide him than 
the love of one whom to love is madness ; but it often 
happens that when love resembles insanity it is really 
a virtue. The second is intrusted to Louis XI., a king 
more adroit than the most adroit of courtiers, an old fox 
armed with the lion's claws, powerful and crafty, served 
in the shadow as well as in the light, covered by his 
guards as by a buckler, and accompanied by his execu- 
tioners as by a sword. These two personages, so differ- 
ent in all respects, act and react on each other so as to 
express the fundamental idea with singularly striking 
truth. It is by his faithful obedience to the King that 
the loyal Quentin serves without knowing it, his own 
interests, while the projects of Louis XL, of which Quen- 
tin was to be at once the instrument and the victim, all 
turn out to the confusion of the cunning old man and the 
advantage of his simple-minded agent. 

A superficial examination would at first sight lead to 
the belief that the primary intention of the poet is shown 
in the historic contrast, painted with such talent, of the 
King of France, Louis of Valois, with Charles the Bold, 
Duke of Burgundy. This fine episode is perhaps after 
all a defect in the composition of the work, as it rivals 
in interest the subject of the romance. But this fault, 
if it be a fault, in no way diminishes the imposing and 
comical aspects of the situation in which these two 

316 ESSAYS. 

princes are set in opposition ; the one, a subtle and ambi- 
tious despot, despising the other, a harsh and warlike 
tyrant, who would scorn him if he dared. They both hate 
each other. But Louis braves the hatred of Charles, 
because it is rude and savage ; Charles dreads the hatred 
of Louis, because it is caressing. The Duke of Burgundy, 
in the midst of his camp and his states, is disturbed by 
the presence of the King of France, who is defenceless, as 
the blood-hound is in the neighbourhood of the cat. The 
cruelty of the duke springs from his passions, that of 
the king from his character. The Burgundian is loyal, 
because he is violent ; he never dreams of hiding his bad 
deeds; he feels no remorse; for he has forgotten his 
crimes as speedily as his angers. Louis is superstitious, 
perhaps because he is a hypocrite ; mere religion does not 
suffice the man who is tormented by his conscience and 
who will not repent ; but it is vain for him to believe 
in useless expiations ; the memory of the evil he has done 
ever lives within him close to the thought of the evil 
he is about to do, because we always remember what we 
have long meditated on, and crime, when it has been a 
desire and a hope, becomes also a memory. The two 
princes are very devout; but Charles swears by his 
sword before swearing by God, and Louis tries to gain 
the good-will of the saints by gifts of money or offices at 
court, mingles diplomacy with his prayers, and intrigues 
even with Heaven. In case of war, Louis is measuring its 
danger, while Charles is already resting after victory. 
The policy of the one is in the might of his arm, but the 
eye of the other reaches farther than the arm of the duke. 
In fine, Walter Scott proves, by engaging the two rivals 
in action, that prudence is stronger than daring, and that 
he who appears to dread nothing is really afraid of him 
who seems to fear everything. 

what art the illustrious writer paints for us the 


King of France when, by a refinement of trickery, he pre- 
sents himself to his fair cousin of Burgundy, and asks his 
hospitality at the very moment the haughty vassal was 
about to make war on him ! And what can be more 
dramatic than the news of a revolt fomented in the states 
of the duke by the agents of the king falling like a thun- 
derbolt between the two rulers at the very moment when 
the same table united them ! Thus fraud is foiled by 
fraud, and the prudent Louis is delivered into the hands 
of an enemy justly irritated. History tells us something 
about this ; but at this point I prefer to believe in romance 
rather than in history, because I count moral truth more 
desirable than historic truth. A still more remarkable 
scene perhaps is that where the two princes, whom the 
safest counsel has failed to bring together, are reconciled 
by an act of cruelty imagined by the one and executed by 
the other. For the first time they burst into a laugh of 
mutual cordiality and enjoyment. And this laugh, excited 
by the torture of a poor wretch, effaces for a moment their 
discord. This terrible idea makes the reader thrill with 

We have heard the picture of the debauch criticised as 
hideous and revolting. It is in our opinion one of the 
finest chapters of the book. As Walter Scott had under- 
taken the task of painting that famous cut-throat, sur- 
named the Boar of Ardennes, his description would have 
been a failure if it did not excite horror. We must 
always enter frankly into a dramatic idea, and in every- 
thing search out the end to be attained. In this, emotion 
and interest have their source. It belongs only to timid 
spirits to capitulate with a strong conception and recoil 
before the path they themselves have traced. 

We shall justify on the same principle two other pas- 
sages which do not seem to us less worthy of meditation 
and praise. The first is the execution of Hayraddin, a 

318 ESSAYS. 

singular personage whom the author might perhaps have 
made more of. The second is the chapter in which Louis 
XL, arrested by the Duke of Burgundy, arranges with 
Tristan THermite in his prison the punishment of the 
astrologer who has deceived him. It is a singularly fine 
idea to show us this cruel king finding his dungeon even 
wide enough for his vengeance, seeking for agents to deal 
justice on those who were lately his servants, and testing 
all the authority left him by an execution. 

We might multiply these observations and try to show 
in what direction the new drama of Sir Walter Scott 
seems to us defective, particularly in the denouement ; but 
the romancer could doubtless supply much better reasons 
for his justification than we could for attacking him, and 
against such a formidable champion our weak arms would 
scarcely be at an advantage. We shall confine ourselves 
to saying that the witticism put in the mouth of the 
Duke of Burgundy's fool on the arrival of King Louis 
XL at Peronne, really belongs to the fool of Francis I., 
who uttered it at the time of the passage of Charles V. 
through France in 1535. As the immortality of this 
poor Triboulet depends entirely on this quip, it is but 
{BIT to let him have it. We think also that the ingenious 
expedient imagined by Galeotti for the escape of Louis 
XL had been tried a thousand years before by the philos- 
opher who wished to put Dionysius of Syracuse to death. 
We do not attach to these remarks more importance than 
they deserve ; a romancer is not a chronicler. We are as- 
tonished only that the king should, in the council of Bur- 
gundy, address certain knights of the Holy Ghost, as this 
Order was not founded for a century later, by Henry III. 
We believe that even the Order of Saint Michael, with 
which the noble author decorates the brave Lord Craw- 
ford, was not instituted by Louis XL until after his 
captivity. Sir Walter Scott must permit us these little 


chronological quibbles. By winning a slight triumph of 
a somewhat pedantic kind over so illustrious an antiquary t 
we are not able to refrain from feeling some of that harm- 
less delight which transported his Quentin Durward, 
when he unhorsed the Duke of Orleans and held Dunois 
in check, and we are tempted to ask his pardon for our 
victory in the words of Charles V. to the Pope : Sanctis- 
sime Pater, indulge victori. 



WE are in June, 1824. Lord Byron has just died. 
We have been asked our opinion on Lord Byron, 
and on Lord Byron dead. What does our opinion matter? 
What is the good of writing, unless it is assumed that it 
is impossible for any one whatever not to say some words 
worth listening to in presence of so great a poet and so 
great an event ? If we are to believe the ingenious fables 
of the East, a tear becomes a pearl when it falls into the 

In the peculiar existence which a love of letters has 
created for us, in the calm region in which a passion for 
independence and poetry has placed us, it were natural, 
that the death of Byron should strike us, in some sort, 
as a domestic calamity ; for us it has been one of those 
misfortunes which touch the deepest springs of feeling. 
The man who devotes his days to the worship of letters 
feels the circle of his physical life contract around him 
in proportion as the sphere of his intellectual existence 
is enlarged. The tenderest affection of his heart is given 
to a little society of much-loved beings, while all poets, 
dead and living, strangers and fellow-countrymen, share 
in the affections of his souL Nature gave him a family. 
Poetry gives him one also. His sympathies, awakened by 
so few of his associates, go out, through the eddies of 
social relations, beyond time, beyond space, in search of 
certain men whom he comprehends and by whom he feels 
he is comprehended. While, amid the monotonous rota- 


tion of habits and business, the crowd of those to whom 
he is indifferent jostle and run against him without at* 
tracting his attention, there are between him and those 
men scattered everywhere whom his partiality has chosen 
intimate relations, and, so to speak, electric communica- 
tions. A sweet community of thought, like an invisible 
and indissoluble bond, connects him with those choice 
souls, isolated in their world, as he is in his; so that 
when haply he meets one of them, a glance serves to 
reveal the one to the other. The same thought pene- 
trates their souls ; and, at the end of some minutes, these 
two strangers are like two brothers nursed at the same 
breast, like two friends tried by the same misfortune. 

We will then, we hope, be permitted to say, and, if 
need be, to boast that a sympathy similar to that we 
have just explained drew us towards Byron. It was not 
certainly the attraction which genius inspires in genius ; 
but it was, at least, a sincere sentiment of admiration, 
enthusiasm, and gratitude, for gratitude is due to men 
whose works and actions make the heart beat with noble 
emotion. When we learned the death of this poet, it 
seemed as if a part of our future was wrested from us. 
It is with bitterness we have renounced forever the hope 
of forming with Byron one of those poetic friendships 
which it has been our delight and glory to maintain 
with some of the leading spirits of our age, and we have 
addressed to him that fine verse in which a poet of his 
school saluted the great shade of Andr3 Ch&iier : 

Farewell, young friend, whom I have never known, 1 ' 

Since a word has slipped from us as to the peculiar 
school of Lord Byron, it may not be inexpedient to ex- 
amine here what place that school occupies in relation to 
present literature, why it is attacked as if it could be 
vanquished, and why it is calumniated as if it could be 
VOI..XXIY. -21 

322 ESSAYS. 

condemned. Certain warped minds, skilful at shifting 
the ground of all questions, are trying to bring into vogue 
a very singular error. They have imagined that society 
in France was at present expressed by two literatures 
absolutely hostile, which means that the same tree bore 
naturally two fruits of opposite species at the same time, 
that the same cause simultaneously produced two in- 
compatible effects. But these foes of innovation have not 
perceived that they were creating quite a new kind of 
logic. Every day they continue to treat the literature 
they name classic as if it was still alive, and the literature 
they call romantic as if it was at its last gasp. These 
learned rhetoricians who are ever proposing to exchange 
what does not exist for what does exist remind one in- 
voluntarily of the Orlando Furioso of Ariosto, who gravely 
begs a passer-by to accept a dead mare in exchange for a 
living horse. Orlando, it is true, confesses that his mare 
is dead, at the same time adding that it is her only defect 
But the Orlandos of the so-called classic style have not 
yet attained this elevation either in judgment or good 
faith. It is necessary therefore to wrest from them that 
which they will not grant freely, and to declare to them 
that there exists to-day but one literature, just as there 
exists to-day but one society ; that preceding literatures, 
while leaving immortal monuments behind them, have 
had to disappear, and have disappeared with the genera- 
tions whose social habits and political emotions they 
expressed. The genius of our era can be as fine as the 
genius of the most illustrious eras, it cannot be the same ; 
and it is no more in the power of our writers to resus- 
citate a past literature a than it is in the power of the 

1 It should not be lost sight of by the reader that by the words literature of 
an age, we understand not only the ensemble of the works produced dur- 
ing that age, but also the general order of ideas and sentiments which 
often without the consciousness of the authors themselves has guided 
their composition. 


gardener to make the leaves of autumn grow green again 
on the branches of the spring. 

Let there be no mistake about this : it is in vain that a 
small number of small minds are trying to lead back the 
ideas of the people towards the tiresome literary system 
of the last century. The soil, naturally barren, has long 
dried up. Moreover, the madrigals of Dorat cannot be 
begun anew after the guillotines of Robespierre ; and it is 
not in the century of Bonaparte that Voltaire can be 
continued. The real literature of our age, the literature 
whose authors are proscribed after the fashion of Aris- 
tides; the literature which, repudiated by all pens, is 
adopted by all lyres ; the literature which, in spite of a 
vast and calculated persecution, sees every talent unclose 
within its stormy sphere like those flowers that only 
grow in places beaten by the winds; the literature, in 
fine, which, condemned by those who decide without re- 
flecting, is defended by those who think with their soul, 
judge with their intellect, and feel with their heart, that 
literature has not the effeminate and shameless allure- 
ments of the muse who sang of Cardinal Dubois, flattered 
the Pompadour and outraged Joaij of Arc. It questions 
neither the crucible of the atheist nor the scalpel of the 
materialist. It borrows not from the sceptic that leaden 
balance whose equilibrium is broken by interest alone. 
It does riot give birth amid orgies to songs in praise of 
massacres. It knows neither adulation nor insult. It 
yields not to the seductions of falsehood. It does not 
deprive illusions of their charm. A stranger to all that 
is not its true goal, it draws poetry from the sources of 
truth. Its imagination is fructified by faith. It follows 
the progress of the time, but with a grave and measured 
pace. Its character is serious, its voice melodious and 
sonorous. It is, in a word, what the common thought of 
a great nation ought to be after great calamities, sad, 

324 ESSAYS. 

lofty, and religious. When necessary it does not hesitate 
to mingle in the public discords in order to judge them 
or to appease them. For we are no longer in the time of 
bucolic songs, and it is not the muse of the nineteenth 
century that can say : 

*' Non me agitant populi fasces, aut purpura regum." 

This literature, however, like all things human, pre- 
sents, in its very unity, its sombre side and its consoling 
side. Two schools have been formed within its bosom, 
which reproduce the twofold situation in which our polit- 
ical misfortunes have respectively left the minds of men, 
resignation and despair. Both recognize what a mock- 
ing philosophy had denied, the eternity of God, the 
immortality of the soul, the primordial verities, and the 
verities revealed ; but one recognized them to adore, the 
other to curse. One saw everything from the heights of 
heaven, the other from the depths of hell. The first places 
by the cradle of man an angel whom he finds again by 
the pillow of his bed when dying ; the other surrounds 
his steps with phantoms, demons, and sinister apparitions. 
The first tells him to trust, because he is never alone ; 
the second frightens him by unceasingly isolating him. 
Both equally possess the art of sketching scenes of grace 
and limning forms of terror ; but the first, careful never 
to bruise the heart, gives to its gloomiest pictures a ray 
of light reflected from some heavenly beacon ; the other, 
ever anxious to sadden, sheds over its most laughing fan- 
cies a glare that seems to come from hell. The one, in 
fine, resembles Emmanuel, gentle and strong, traversing 
his realm on a chariot of light ; the other is that haughty 
Satan 1 who drew down so many of the stars when he was 

1 In using this figure we by no means intend to justify the title of 
Satanic ichool, under which a man of talent has designated the school of 
Lord Byron. 


hurled from heaven. These two twin schools, founded on 
the same basis, and born, so to speak, in the same cradle, 
appear to us specially represented in European literature 
by two illustrious geniuses, Chateaubriand and Byron. 
After our prodigious revolutions, two political orders 
were struggling on the same soil An old society had 
crumbled ; a new society was beginning to rise. On one 
side ruins ; on the other, rude outlines. Lord Byron, in 
his gloomy lamentations, has given expression to the last 
convulsions of society expiring; M. de Chateaubriand 
has satisfied the first needs of society revived. The 
voice of the one is as the farewell of the swan at the 
hour of death ; the voice of the other is like to the song 
of the phoenix new-born from its ashes. By the sadness 
of his genius, by the pride of his character, by the tem- 
pests of his life, Lord Byron is the type of the class of 
poetry of which he is the poet. All his works are pro- 
foundly marked by the stamp of his individuality. It is 
always his haughty and sombre figure that the reader 
sees pass before his eyes in each poem as if across a 
pall of mourning. Sometimes, though like all profound 
thinkers, subject to vagueness and obscurity, he has 
words which sound the depths of the entire soul, sighs 
that relate the experiences of an entire existence. It 
seems as if his heart half opens to every thought that 
springs from it like a volcano that vomits forth the 
lightning. Sorrow, joy, passion, have for him no mys- 
tery ; and if he presents real objects to view only through 
a veil, he shows the regions of the ideal without any dis- 
guise. We may reproach him with absolute neglect of 
the orderly arrangement of his poems, a grave defect, 
for a poem that lacks order is a building without car- 
pentry or a picture without perspective. He goes too 
far also in his lyrical disdain of transitions; and we 
would sometimes desire that one who is so faithful a 

326 ESSAYS. 

painter of the interior emotions should throw on his 
physical descriptions less fantastic lights and less vapor- 
ous tints. His genius too often resembles an aimless 
traveller musing as he walks, and so absorbed in his own 
profound intuitions that he brings back with him but a 
confused image of the places he has traversed. However 
this may be, his capricious imagination rises, even in his 
less beautiful works, to heights none can reach without 
wings. It is in vain for the eagle to fix his eyes on the 
earth, he does not the less preserve the sublime glance 
whose range extends to the sun. 1 It has been claimed 

1 At a moment when all Europe is rendering such splendid homage to 
the genius of Lord Byron, acknowledged to be a great umu since he is 
dead, the reader will be curious to read again some sentences from the 
remarkable article in which the " Edinburgh Review/' a periodical of 
high standing, hailed the poet on his first appearance. It is, moreover, 
the style in which certain journals treat the first talents of our time every 
morning or evening. 

" The poetry of this young lord belongs to the class which neither gods nor 
men are said to permit. . . . His effusions are spread over a dead flat, and can 
no more get above or below the level than if they were no mnrh stagnant water. 
As an extenuation of this offence, the noble author is peculiarly forward in 
pleading his minority. ... He possibly means to say : " See how a minor can 
write! " But, alas! we all remember the poetry of Cowley at ten, and Pope at 
twelve; and so far from hearing, with any degree of surprise, that very poor 
verses were written by a youth from his leaving school to his leaving collepe, 
inclusive, we really believe this to be the most common of all occurrences; that 
it happens in the life of nine men in ten who are educated in England, and that 
the tenth man writes better verses than Lord Byron. 

"In truth, it is this consideration only, that induce* us to give Lord Byron's 
poems a place in our review, beside our desire to counsel him, that he do forth- 
with abandon poetry, and turn his talents ... to better account. With this 
view, we must beg leave seriously to ftft*nr* him that the mere rhyming of the 
final syllable, even when accompanied by the presence of the necessary number 
of feet, nay, although (which does not always happen) these feet should scan 
regularly. . . is not the whole art of poetry. We would entreat him to believe 
that a certain portion of liveliness, somewhat of fancy, is necessary to constitute 
a poem ; and that a poem in the present day , to be read, must contain at least 
one thought, either in a little degree different from the ideas of former writers, 
or differently expressed. 

" Lord Byron should also have a care of attempting what the greatest poets 


that the author of "Don Juan" belonged, on one side of 
his intellect, to the school of the author of " Candida" 
An error! There is a profound difference between the 
laugh of Byron and the laugh of Voltaire. Voltaire had 
not suffered. We might here say something of the har- 
assed life of the great poet ; but considering our uncer- 
tainty as to the real causes of the domestic misfortunes 
which imbittered his character, we prefer to remain 
silent, for fear our pen might go astray in spite of us. 
Knowing Lord Byron only through his poems, we feel a 
pleasure in thinking that his life must have been in har- 
mony with his soul and genius. Like all superior men, 
he certainly has been the prey of calumny. To this we 

have done before him, for comparisons (as he must have had occasion to see at 
his writing-master's) are odious. . . . 

" As to his Ossianic poesy, we are not very good judges, being, in truth, so 
moderately skilled in that species of composition that we should, in all proba- 
bility, be criticising some bit of the genuine Macpherson itself, were we to ex- 
press our opinion of Lord Byron's rhapsodies. . . . We can so far venture an 
opinion in their favour, that they look very like Macpherson ; and we are posi- 
tive they are pretty nearly as stupid and tiresome. . . . 

14 As the author has dedicated a pan of his volume to immortalize his em- 
ployments at school and college, ... we are sorry to hear so bad an account of 
the* college psalmody as is contained in the following attic stanzas: (The 
quotation follows.) . . . 

" But whatever judgment may be passed on the poems of this noble minor, 
it seems we must take them as we find them, and be content ; for they are the 
last we fthall ever have from him; . . . whether he succeeds or not, ' it is highly 
improbable ' . . . that he should again condescend to become an author. There- 
fore let us take what we get and be thankful. What right have we poor devils 
to be nice ? We are well off to have got so much from a man of this Lord's sta- 
tion. . . . Again, we say, let us be thankful ; and with honest Sancho, bid God 
bless the giver, nor look the gift horse in the mouth." 

Lord Byron deigned to inflict punishment on this wretched jumble of 
commonplace, the everlasting topic envious mediocrity reproduces un- 
ceasingly against geniua. The authors of the " Edinburgh Review " were 
forced by his satirical lash to recognize his talent. The example appears 
a good one to follow; still, we confess we should have preferred if Lord 
Byron had preserved the silence of contempt as far as these persona 
were concerned. Though his interest might not give him this coun- 
sel, his dignity at least ought to have done so. 

328 ESSAYS. 

attribute the injurious reports that have so long accom- 
panied the name of the poet Moreover, she whom his 
trespasses offended has since doubtless been the first 
to forget them in presence of his death. We hope she 
has pardoned him; for we are not of those who think 
that hatred and vengeance have anything to gain by 
carving their feelings on a tomb-stone. 

And let us, too, pardon his faults, his errors, nay, even 
those works in which he has appeared to stoop from the 
twofold height of his character and his talent; let us 
pardon him, he has died so nobly ! he has fallen so well ! 
He seemed yonder some warlike representative of the 
modern muse in the native land of the ancient muses. 
The generous auxiliary of glory, of religion, and of lib- 
erty, he carried his sword and his lyre to the descendants 
of the first warriors and the first poets ; and the weight of 
his laurels was already inclining the balance in favour 
of the unfortunate Hellenes. We owe him, we particu- 
larly, deep gratitude. He has proved to Europe that the 
poets of the new school, although they no longer adore 
the gods of pagan Greece, always admire its heroes ; and 
that, if they have deserted Olympus, they have at least 
never said adieu to Thermopylae. 

The death of Byron has been received all over the con- 
tinent with signs of universal sorrow. The cannon of 
the Greeks long saluted his remains, and amid the public 
calamities a national mourning consecrated the loss of 
this stranger. The proud gates of Westminster Abbey 
have opened for him of themselves, in order that the 
tomb of the poet might honour the sepulchre of kings. 
Shall we say it ? In the midst of these glorious marks 
of the general affliction we have been trying to find what 
solemn testimony of enthusiasm Paris, the capital of 
Europe, would render to the heroic shade of Byron, and 


we have discovered a fool's bawble which insulted his 
lyre and the stage of a low theatre on which his bier was 
outraged ! l 

1 A few days after the news of Lord Byron's death there was a repre- 
sentation iu some wretched theatre or other on the Boulevard, equally 
distinguished for bad taste and bad tone, in which this noble poet ap- 
peared on the stage under the ridiculous name of Lord Trois-tftoilet. 




IN 1781 there was a serious debate in the bosom of a 
family in France between a father and an uncle. 
The subject in dispute was a good-for-nothing whom this 
family did not know what to do with. He had already 
passed the first hot stage of youth, and yet was still 
wholly plunged in all the frantic excesses of that passion- 
ate time. Overwhelmed by debts, ruined by follies, 
and separated from his wife, he hud carried ofl* the wife 
of another, had been condemned to death for the act, 
had been decapitated in effigy, had iled from Fiance, and 
now was back again, having, according to his own account, 
seen the error of his ways ; and purged of his contumacy, 
he was now asking to be restored to his family and to 
regain possession of his wife. The father desired such 
an arrangement, for he wanted to have grandchildren to 
perpetuate his name ; and he hoped besides, to be more 
lucky as a grandfather than he had been as a father. 
But the prodigal son was thirty-three years old, and he 
had to be made over again from top to bottom. A diffi- 
cult task that ! After he took his place again in society, 
to whose hands should he be confided ? Who would 
undertake to straighten the backbone of such a char- 
acter ? Hence the controversy between his two relatives. 
The father wished to give him to the uncle, the uncle 
wished to leave him to the father. 
"Take him/' said the father. 

Portraii .of Mirabcan, 
Original Etching l\v E. H. Garrett. 


I won't have him," said the uncle. 

"Now, in the first place," returned the father, "lay this 
to heart. This man is nothing, nothing at all He is 
a mixture of good taste and charlatanism, has the air of 
knowing everything, has action, turbulence, daring, is the 
life and soul of a company, and has some dignity too. In 
authority he is neither harsh nor hateful. Well, with 
all this he takes no note of the day or the morrow, the 
impulse of the moment is his guide ; a parrot sort of fel- 
low he, an abortive man, taking thought neither of the 
possible nor of the impossible, careless of comfort or dis- 
comfort, of pleasure or pain, of action or repose, and giv- 
ing up at once as soon as things become too tough for 
him. Yet I think he might be made an excellent tool of, 
if one laid hold of him by the sleeve of his vanity. You 
would not let him slip. I do not spare him my ratioci- 
nations in the morning. He grasps my well-founded code 
of ethics and my perennially enduring lessons, because 
they revolve on an ever-real pivot; namely, that our 
nature can rarely be changed, but that reason serves to 
protect the weak side, and by knowing the weak side we 
prevent people from running foul thereon." 

"Oh, there you are again," replied the uncle, "with 
your posteromania, 1 hard at work tutoring a game-cock of 
thirty-three ! A nice task it is to undertake the round- 
ing of a character that is only a hedgehog, all points and 
all too little body!" 

The father insisted : " Have pity on your nephew 
Whirlwind (1'Ouragan). He confesses all his follies, 
indeed, he is the greatest hand at confessing in the 
universe ; but no one could have more wit and aptitude. 
He is a very thunderbolt of labour and activity. At bot- 
tom, he is no more thirty-three than I am sixty-six ; and it 
is not stranger to see a man of my years able, though 
1 A longing to have posterity. 

332 ESSAYS. 

grown grey from mishaps, to weary the legs and the 
minds of the young folk by hunting and studying eight 
hours a day, than to see a great bloated barrel, pitted 
with the small-pox, and looking like au old man, call me 
" papa " and not know how to conduct himself. He has 
an immense need of being governed. He feels it very 
well Oh, you must take charge of him. He knows you 
have always been my pilot and compass, and you must be 
the same to him. He is vain of nothing so much as of his 
uncle. I give him to you as a rare fellow to be trained 
for the future. You have all the saturnine qualities to 
balance his mercurial ones. But when you hold him, 
don't let him slip. Though he did miracles, hold him 
still and pluck him by the sleeve; the poor devil has 
need of it. If you be a father to him, you will be well 
pleased with him ; if only an uncle, he is lost. Love this 
young man." 

" No," said the uncle. " I know that fellows of a cer- 
tain stamp can be all smirks and smiles betimes ; and he 
himself when he lived near me was as timid as a daugh- 
ter-in-law if I only wrinkled my forehead. But I won't 
have him. I 'm not young enough to collar the impos- 
sible, and it is not my taste, either." 

" O brother ! " replied the suppliant old man, " if this 
hackled creature is ever to be patched up again, you alone 
are tile one to do it. Since he has to be set to rights, I 
could not think of giving him a better master than you. 
Take him, be kind and firm, and you 11 be his saviour ; he 
will be the best piece of work you ever turned out Let 
him know that in that long body of yours and under 
your cold, stiff demeanour dwells the best man that ever 
was, a man formed of the odds and ends left after the 
angels were made ! Sound his heart, raise his head. Tu 
cs omnis *pes etfortuna nostri nominis ! " 

"No," returned the uncle, "nor is it because he has 


committed so great a crime under the circumstances. 
Quite too much has been made of that business. A young 
and pretty woman gets in the way of a young man of 
twenty-six. Where is the young man who would not 
pick up a thing like that if he found it in his path ? But 
he is a turbulent spirit, a haughty, pretentious, insubor- 
dinate fellow, a malicious and vicious character ! He 
does his very best to please you. It is right. I know 
he is seductive and that he is the rising sun. All the 
more reason for me not to expose myself to be his dupe. 
Youth always gets the upper hand when it is dealing 
with the old." 

"You did not always think so," sadly answered the 
father ; " there was a time when you wrote to me ; ' As 
for rne, this child unlocks my heart/ " 

"Yes," said the uncle, and your answer was: 'Be cau- 
tious, be on your guard against the gilding of his beak/ " 

"What would you have me do, then ? " cried the father, 
driven to his last stand. " You are too equitable not to 
feel that one does not cut off a son as one would an arm. 
If that was possible I would have been one-armed long 
ago. After all, many a race has sprung from a fellow 
ten thousand times weaker and madder than he. Now, 
brother, as far as we are concerned, he is as he is. I 
leave myself out of the question. If I had not you, I 
would be but a poor broken-down old man. And as long 
as we are with him still, we must help him." 

But the uncle, that peremptory man, cut short all 
prayers at last by these plain words: 

" I won 't have him ! It is madness to want to have 
anything to do with that man. Send him, as his good 
wife says, to the insurgents, and let him get his head 
broken. Your posteromaniac fury has possession of you 
now ; but just think how lucky Cyrus and Marcus Aure- 
lius would have been if neither of them had a Cambyses 

334 ESSAYS. 

Does it not seem to you, while reading this, as if you 
were present at one of the fine scenes of high domestic 
comedy in which the gravity of Moli&re almost reaches 
the grandeur of Corneille ? Is there anything in Molifere 
more striking for beauty and distinction of style, more 
profoundly human and true than these two imposing old 
men whom the seventeenth century seems to have left be- 
hind it in the eighteenth as two exemplars of the grand 
manner ? Do you not see them meet, full of important 
business, stiff and rigid in their demeanour, resting on 
their long canes, recalling by their costume Louis the 
XIV. more than Louis XV., and Louis XIII. more than 
Louis XIV. ? Is not the language they speak the very 
language of Molifere and Saint-Simon ? That father and 
that uncle are the two eternal types of comedy ; they are 
the two austere mouths by which she scolds, instructs, 
and moralizes, amid so many other mouths which only 
make us laugh ; it is the Marquis arid the Commander, 
G^ronte and Ariste, wisdom and goodness, the admirable 
duo to which Molifere always returns. 


Where would you run ? 


Alas ! what do I know ? 


Methinks 't were well that we advise each other 
As to what should be done in this event. 

The scene is complete ; it lacks nothing, not even the 
rascal of a nephew. 

But the most striking circumstance of all in the 
present case is that the scene we have just described is a 


real thing, that this dialogue of the father and the uncle 
took place, as we have recorded it, by letters, letters 
which the public may read at this very hour 1 ; that, all 
unknown to these two old men, the subject of their grave 
discussion was one of the greatest men of our history ; 
that the marquis and the commander are here a real 
marquis and a real commander. The one was named 
Victor de Biquetti, Marquis de Mirabeau ; the other, Jean 
Antoine de Mirabeau, Bailli of the Order of Malta ; the 

1 See the " Me'moires de Mirabeau," or rather sr" Mirabeau/' recently 
published, t. iii. This work, though unfortunately compiled in a fashion 
that is far from intelligent, contains a certain number of very curious, 
authentic, and heretofore unpublished matters on Mirabeau and by Mira- 
beau ; but the most interesting parts, in our opinion, are certain extracts 
from the private correspondence of the Marquis de Mirabeau with the 
Bailli his brother. An aspect of the eighteenth century little known until 
now appears in this correspondence, in which the father and uncle of 
Mirabeau, very original characters besides, great writers without know- 
ing it, and great writers of letters above all, depict admirably their hearts, 
their family, and their age, doing so within a circle of ideas which expands 
and contracts according to their fancies or the vicissitudes of their lives. 
We advise the editor to increase the number of quotations from this corre- 
spondence. We regret also that no one has thought of publishing it en- 
tire, divesting it, of course, of its superfluities. The " Letters of the 
Marquis and Bailli do Mirabeau " would have been one of the most impor- 
tant legacies of the eighteenth century. Doubly rich, whether considered 
as biography or as literature, these Letters would have been for the his- 
torian a mine, for the writer a book. They are done in the best style, and 
are a prolongation of the excellent French speech of Madame de SeVigne, 
Madame de Maintenon, and M. de Saint-Simon up to 1789. The corre- 
spondence, published in its entirety, would make a precious sequel to the 
" Letters of Diderot." The " Letters of Diderot " paint the eighteenth 
century from the standpoint of the philosophes ; the " Letters of Mirabeau " 
would paint it from the standpoint of the (jentilshommes ; a side certainly 
not less curious. The last collection would be of not less value than the 
first to the studies of those who desire to know thoroughly what is defini- 
tively the idea which the eighteenth century has left to the nineteenth. 

Let us hope that the person into whose hands this voluminous corre- 
spondence shall fall, will comprehend the responsibility resulting from 
such a deposit, and will, in all cases, preserve it intact for the future. 
Such precious documents are the patrimony of a nation and not of a 

336 ESSAYS. 

rascal of a nephew was Honorf Gabriel de Riquetti whom 
his family in 1781 called Whirlwind, and whom the 
world to-day calls Mirabeau. 

So, what Mirabeau was for his family in 1781 was an 
abortive man, a hackled creature, a fellow with whom 
nothing could be done, a head good to get broken by the 
insurgents, and a scourge besides. 

Ten years after, on the 1st of April, 1791, an immense 
crowd thronged the approaches of a house in the Chauss^e 
d'Antin. This crowd was gloomy, silent, panic-stricken, 
and profoundly sad. In that house a man was in his 
last agony. 

All this crowd inundated the street, the court, the 
staircase, and the ante-chamber. Several had remained 
there for three days. Men spoke low, they seemed afraid 
to breathe, they questioned anxiously those who came 
and went The feeling of this crowd for this man was 
that of a mother for her child. The doctors no longer hoped. 
From time to time bulletins, wrested from their bearers 
by a thousand hands, were scattered among the multitude, 
and the sobs of women were heard. A young man, rag- 
ing with grief, offered in a loud voice to open an artery so 
that his rich and pure blood might be infused into the 
veins of the dying. All, even the least intelligent, 
seemed weighted to the earth under the thought that 
it was not merely a man, it was a people, that was about 
to die. 

The citizens addressed but one question to each other. 
This man expired. 

Some minutes after the physician who stood at the 
head of his bed had said, " He is dead ! " the president of 
the National Assembly rose in his seat and said, " He is 
dead ! " such the fatal cry that in a few moments filled 
all Paris. One of the principal orators of the Assembly, 
M. Barrfere de Vienzac, rose weeping, and said in a voice 


broken by sobs : " I ask that the Assembly record on the 
minutes of this calamitous day the testimony of the sor- 
row it feels at the loss of this great man, and that there 
be given, in the name of the country, an invitation to all 
the members of the Assembly to be present at his 

A priest, a member of the Bight, cried, " Yesterday, in 
the midst of his sufferings, he caused the Bishop of Autun 
to be summoned to his presence, and handing him a 
work he had just finished on inheritances, asked him as a 
last mark of friendship to read it to the Assembly. It is 
a sacred duty. The Bishop of Autun must exercise here 
the functions of testamentary executor of the great man 
we all lament" 

Trouchet, the president, proposed that a deputation 
attend the funeral The Assembly replied, "We shall 
all go!" 

The Sections of Paris demanded that he should be en- 
tombed " in the Plain of the Federation, under the Altar 
of the County." 

The Directory of the Department proposed to give him 
for his tomb the " new church of Saint Genevieve," and 
to decree that " this edifice be henceforward destined to 
receive the ashes of great men." 

On this subject, M. Pastoret, the procurator-general 
syndic of the commune, said, " The tears that the loss of 
a great man cause us to shed ought not to be barren 
tears. Several ancient peoples provided separate monu- 
ments for their priests and heroes. The species of adora- 
tion they rendered to piety and courage, let us to-day 
render to the love of the happiness and the liberty of 
men. Let the temple of liberty become the temple of the 
country ! Let the tomb of a great man become the altar 
of liberty!" 

The Assembly applauded 

TOL. XX IV. 22 

338 ESSAYS. 

Barnave exclaimed, "He has, indeed, merited the 
honours which ought to be decreed by the nation to the 
great men who have served her well" 

Eobespierre, that is to say, Envy, rose also, and said, 
" It is not at the moment when we hear from all parts 
the regrets excited by the loss of this illustrious man, 
who in the most critical times displayed so much cour- 
age against despotism, that we could oppose the marks of 
honour which ought to be decreed him. I support the 
proposal with all my energies, or rather with all my 

On that day there was neither Left nor Eight in the 
National Assembly. All with one voice passed the fol- 
lowing decree : 

"The new edifice of Saint Genevieve shall be destined to 
receive the ashes of great men. There shall be engraved 
above its front these words, 



"The Legislative Body alone shall decide to what men this 
honour shall be decreed. 

" Honore* Riquetti Mirabeau is judged worthy of receiving 
this honour." 

The man who had just died was Honorf de Mirabeau. 
The great man of 1791 was the abortive man of 1781. 

On the next day the procession of the people at his 
funeral extended for more than a league. His father was 
not there ; he had died, as was proper in the case of an 
old gentleman of his kind, on the 13th of July 1789, the 
eve of the fall of the Bastille. 

It is not without an object that we have brought to- 
gether these two dates, 1781 and 1791, their memories 


and their history, Mirabeau before and Mirabeau after, 
Mirabeau judged by his family and Mirabeau judged by 
the people. There is an inexhaustible source of medita- 
tion in this contrast. How was it that in ten years the 
demon of a family became the god of a nation ? A pro- 
found question this. 


WE must not believe, however, that at the moment 
this man issued from the family to make his appearance 
before the people, he was immediately and by acclama- 
tion hailed as a god. Things of themselves never march 
in this fashion. Where genius rises, Envy rears her 
head. On the contrary, until the very hour of his death, 
never was man so constantly and so thoroughly gainsaid 
in every sense as Mirabeau. 

When he arrived at the States General as Deputy of 
Aix, he excited the jealousy of nobody. Obscure and 
disreputable, he was little sought after by those of good 
report ; ugly and awkward, he inspired the graceful and 
well-proportioned lords with pity. His nobility vanished 
under the black habit, his physiognomy under the 
small-pox. Who, then, could dream of being jealous of 
this species of adventurer, this released convict, deformed 
in body and feature, ruined besides, whom the rabble of 
Aix had sent as deputy to the States General in a 
moment of frenzy, thoughtlessly, no doubt, and without 
knowing why ? This man, in truth, did not count. Be- 
side him the most commonplace person was handsome, 
rich, and worthy of consideration. He did not offend 
any vanity, he did not elbow any pretention. He was a 
mere cipher which the ambitious, however jealous of one 
another they might be, scarcely reckoned in their calcu- 
lations. Little by little, however, as the twilight of all 

340 ESSAYS. 

ancient things was approaching, a sufficient shadow was 
created around the monarchy for the sombre splendour, 
peculiar to the great men of revolutions, to become visi- 
ble to the eye. Mirabeau was beginning to radiate. 

Then Envy came to this radiance as every bird of 
night does to the light. To date from that moment, 
Envy seized on Mirabeau and never let go her hold. And 
above all, a thing happened which seems strange and yet 
is not strange. What she refused him to his last breath, 
what she denied him incessantly to his face, was precisely 
that which crowns him in the eyes of posterity, his ora- 
torical genius. This is the method that Envy always 
pursues besides ; it is at the finest front of a building 
that she hurls her stones. And, then, it must be ad- 
mitted that Envy had an inexhaustible supply of good 
reasons for her work. Probitas, the orator should be a man 
without reproach, M. de Mirabeau deserves reproach 
in every direction ; prasstantia, the orator ought to be 
handsome, M. de Mirabeau is ugly ; vox amoena, the 
orator should have a pleasing organ, M. de Mirabeau's 
voice is harsh, dry, shrill, thundering always and never 
speaking; subrisus audientium, the orator ought to be 
welcome to his hearers, M. de Mirabeau is hated by the 
Assembly, etc ; and a crowd of people, very well content 
with themselves, came to this conclusion : M. de Mira- 
beau is not an orator. 

Now, far from proving this, all these reasonings prove 
only one thing ; that is, that the Mirabeaus are not fore- 
seen by the Ciceros. 

Certainly, he was not an orator after the fashion un- 
derstood by those people ; he was an orator according to 
his own nature, his organization, his soul, his life. He 
was an orator because he was hated, just as Cicero was 
an orator because he was loved. He was an orator be- 
cause he was ugly, just as Hortensius was an orator 


because he was well-favoured. He was an orator because 
he had suffered, because he had failed, because he had 
been while still young and at that period of life when the 
heart expands to every influence, repulsed, mocked, hu- 
miliated, despised, defamed, banished, robbed, exiled, im- 
prisoned, and condemned ; because, like the people of 
1789 whose perfect symbol he was, he had been kept in 
leading-strings long after the age of reason ; because a 
father's hand had been as heavy for him as royalty had 
been for the people ; because, like the people, he had been 
badly reared ; because, like the people, a bad education 
caused a vice to grow on the root of every virtue. He 
was an orator, because the wide issues opened by 1789 
enabled him at last to pour out into society all the ebulli- 
tions that had been so long repressed in his family ; be- 
cause from the very fact that he was abrupt, unequal, 
violent, vicious, cynical, sublime, diffuse, incoherent, full 
of instincts still more than of thoughts, with his feet 
soiled and his head radiant, he was in everything like 
the ardent years in which he shone, and in which every 
day passed away, marked on the brow with one of his 
words. In fine, to those fatuous men who understood 
their time so poorly as to ask him, at the same time rais- 
ing a thousand objections often ingenious enough, if he 
seriously believed he was an orator, he might have simply 
answered, " Inquire of the monarchy that is ending, in- 
quire of the revolution that is beginning ! " 

It is hard to believe to-day that it is a certain fact 
many people in 1790, and among those people a number 
of fair-spoken friends, advised Mirabeau, " to abandon the 
tribune in his own interest ; he would never be entirely 
successful in it," or at least, " to appear there less often." 
We have the words under our eyes. It is hard to believe 
that, during those memorable sessions, when he stirred 
the Assembly like water in a vase, when the resounding 

342 ESSAYS. 

ideas of the moment were dashed together under the im- 
pulse of his mighty hand, when he beat out and amalga- 
mated with his powerful eloquence his own personal 
passion and the passion of all, after he had spoken 
and while he was speaking and before he spoke, the ap- 
plause was always mingled with hooting, laughter, and 
hisses. Miserable petty details which his glory has dis- 
counted to-day! The journals and pamphlets of the 
time are but insults, outrages, and indignities directed 
against the genius of this man. He is reproached with 
every offence at every turn. But the reproach that is 
never for a moment silent, that appears to spring from 
some kind of mania is " his rough and harsh voice " and 
the " thundering tones in which he always speaks.*' What 
answer can be given to this ? His voice is rough, be- 
cause apparently the time for smooth voices has passed. 
His tones are thundering, because great issues are thun- 
dering beside him, and it is the property of great men to 
rise to the height of great events. 

And then, and this too is a policy that has always 
been used against men of genius ; he was attacked not 
only by supporters of the monarchy, but by those of his 
own party for one is nowhere better hated than in 
his own party who were ever agreed, by a sort of tacit 
convention, on opposing him incessantly and on giving 
the preference to some other orator, adroitly selected by 
envy among those who held the same opinions as Mira- 
beau and Barnave. And it will be always so. It often 
happens that, in a given period, the same idea is repre- 
sented in different degrees at the same time by a man of 
genius and a man of talent. This position offers a happy 
chance to the man of talent. He is sure of present and 
undisputed success ; this success, it is true, proves noth- 
ing and quickly fades. Jealousy and hate at once cross 
the path of the strongest. Mediocrity would be very 


much troubled by the presence of the man of talent, if 
the man of genius were not there ; but the man of genius 
is there, and so she supports the man of talent, and makes 
use of him against the master of both. She deludes her- 
self with the chimerical hope of overthrowing the one, 
and in that case (which, however, cannot be realized) she 
reckons on making a good bargain with the second. 
Meanwhile she supports the latter, and elevates him as 
high as she can. Mediocrity is in favour of him who 
annoys her the least and resembles her the most In 
this circumstance, all that is hostile to the man of genius 
is friendly to the man of talent. The comparison which 
should crush the latter exalts him. Out of all the stones 
that pickaxe and spade and calumny and diatribe and 
insult can tear away from the base of the great man, a 
pedestal is erected for the second-rate man. What is 
made to fall from the one serves for the construction 
of the other. It was in this way that, towards 1790, 
Barnave was built up with the materials taken from as 
much of the ruin of Mirabeau as was available. 

Rivarol said, "M. Mirabeau is more of a writer, M. 
Barnave is more of an orator." Pelletier said, "Bar- 
nave yes, Mirabeau no." " The memorable session of the 
13th," wrote Chamfort, " has proved more than ever the 
pre-eminence, already demonstrated long before, of Bar- 
nave to Mirabeau as an orator." " Mirabeau is dead," 
murmured M. Target, grasping the hand of Barnave ; " his 
discourse on the formula of promulgation has killed him." 
" Barnave, you have buried Mirabeau," added Duport, 
supported by the smile of Lameth, who was to Duport 
as Duport was to Barnave, a diminutive. " M. Barnave 
gives pleasure," said M. Goupil, " and M. Mirabeau gives 
pain." " The Count de Mirabeau has flashes, 1 ' said 
M. Camus, " but he will never make a discourse ; he will 
never even know what a discourse is. Talk to me of 

344 ESSAYS. 

Barnave ! " " It is useless for M. de Mirabeau to sweat 
and weary himself," cackled Kobespierre, " he will never 
reach Barnave, who does not seem to have so much pre- 
tension, but is far superior." l Such poor little samples 
of injustice stung Mirabeau and caused him suffering in 
the midst of his power and his triumphs. Pin-pricks of 
the kind do make a giant wince. 

And if hatred, when it determined to get some one to 
oppose him, no matter whom, had not found a man of 
talent suitable for the purpose, she would have taken a 
man of mediocrity. The equality of the stuff out of 
which she makes her flag never embarrasses her. Mairet 
has been preferred to Corneille, Pradon to liacine, and 
not a hundred years ago Voltaire exclaimed : 

" And dare they then 
Prefer the barbarous Crebillon to me ! " 

In 1808, Geoffroy, the best known critic in Europe, 
placed " M. Lafon very much above M. Talma." Marvel- 
lous instinct of cliques ! In 1798, Moreau was thought 
superior to Bonaparte ; in 1815, Wellington ranked higher 
than Napoleon. 

We repeat, because in our opinion the thing is singular, 
that Mirabeau stooped to be irritated by these petty mis- 
eries. The parallel with Barnave offended him. If he could 
have looked into the future he would have smiled ; but it 
is the special defect of political orators, who are above all 
men of the present, to keep their eyes too much fixed on 
contemporaries and not enough on posterity. These two 
men, Barnave and Mirabeau, presented besides a perfect 
contrast. When either rose in the Assembly, Barnave 
was always received with a smile, and Mirabeau with a 
storm Barnave possessed as his property the ovation of 

Qtavctvtplw. Bad French. Robespierre should have said, yuiwmt 


the moment, the triumph of the quarter of an hour, the 
glory of a report in the " Gazette," the applause of all, 
even of the Eight. To Mirabeau were allotted the 
struggle and the turmoil. Barnave was a rather handsome 
young man, and a very fine speaker. Mirabeau, as 
Rivarol ingeniously observed, was a monstrous 'babbler. 
Barnave was one of those men who take each morning 
the measure of their hearers; who handle the pulse of 
their audience ; who never venture outside the possibility 
of being applauded ; who always humbly kiss the feet of 
success ; who ascend the tribune, sometimes with the idea 
of to-day, of tenest with that of yesterday, never from 
dread of the risk, with that of to-morrow ; who have an 
even, smooth, easy fluency of speech on which they jog 
along, making little noise, and pass round with their other 
baggage, the commonplace ideas of their time ; who, fearing 
that their thoughts might not be sufficiently impregnated 
with the atmosphere of everybody, unceasingly adjust 
and arrange their opinions in front of the street as they 
would a thermometer at the window. Mirabeau, on the 
contrary, was the man of the new idea, of the sudden 
illumination, of the risky proposition ; fiery, hare-brained, 
imprudent, always saying something unexpected every- 
where, jostling, wounding, overturning, obeying only him- 
self, seeking success undoubtedly, but after many other 
things, and preferring the applause of the passions in his 
heart to that of the people in the tribunes ; noisy, agitated, 
rapid, profound, seldom transparent, never fordable, and 
rolling along confusedly in his foamy current all the ideas 
of his era, ideas that often suffered a rude shock when 
coming into collision with his own. 

The fame of Mirabeau is to-day so great and so univer- 
sally recognized, that there is considerable difficulty in 
forming an idea of the fashion in which he was treated 
by his colleagues and contemporaries. We have M. de 

346 ESSAYS. 

Guillermy exclaiming during one of the great tribune's 
harangues : " M. Mirabeau is a scoundrel, an assassin ! " 
MM. d' Ambly and de Lautrec vociferating, " This Mira- 
beau is a great scoundrel ! " And then M. de Foucault 
shook his fist at him, and M. de Virien said, " Monsieur 
Mirabeau, you insult me ! " When hatred did not speak, 
contempt did. "This shabby Mirabeau!" said M. de 
Castellanet of the Right. " That extravagant fellow ! " 
said M. Lapoule of the Left. And when he had spoken, 
Robespierre mumbled between his teeth : " His words 
have no value." 

Sometimes his eloquence showed traces of the effect 
exercised on him by the hostility of so large a part of his 
audience, and in the midst of his magnificent discourse 
on the Regency, for example his scornful lips gave vent 
to such words as these, words at once simple and resigned, 
melancholy and proud, which every man placed in simi- 
lar circumstances would do well to meditate on : 

" While I was giving my ideas on the Regency, I have 
heard some of my hearers say, with the charming sense 
of incapability of error to which I have been long accus- 
tomed : ' That is absurd ! that is extravagant ! that is 
unworthy of being brought before us! 1 But a little 
serious reflection would not be out of place either." 

He spoke these words on the 25th of March, 1791, 
seven days before his death. 

Outside the Assembly, the press tore him to pieces 
with a strange fury. A hailstorm of pamphlets beat on 
this man. The extreme parties put him in the same pil- 
lory. His name was pronounced in the same tone in the 
barrack of the Royal Guards and in the club of the Corde- 
liers. M. de Champcenetz said, "That man has the 
small-pox in his soul." M. de Lambesc proposed to have 
him seized and taken to the galleys by twenty horsemen. 
Marat shouted, " Citizens, raise eight hundred gibbeta, 


hang all these traitors on them, and at their head the 
infamous Riquetti the elder ! " And Mirabeau refused to 
consent to his prosecution by the National Assembly. 
He contented himself with saying, "It seems a great 
deal of extravagant nonsense is published. The man 
who wrote that must have been drunk." 

Thus, up to April the 1st, 1791, Mirabeau is a scoun- 
drel, 1 an extravagant fellow, 2 a rascal, 8 an assassin, 4 a 
madman, 5 an orator of the second rank, 6 a mediocre man, 7 
a man dead, 8 a man buried, 9 a monstrous babbler, 10 hooted, 
hissed, scouted more than applauded ; u Lambesc would 
send him to the galleys, Marat to the gibbet On the 
Jd of April he dies. On the 3d the Pantheon was in- 
vented for his behoof. 


THE people, however, which has a peculiar sense and a 
visual ray always singularly straight, which is not hate- 
ful because it is strong, which is not envious because it 
is great, the people, which knows men, although itself a 
child, the people was for Mirabeau. There are no finer 
spectacles for the thinker than those close embraces of 
genius and the multitude. 

The influence of Mirabeau was gainsaid, and it was 
immense. It was always he, after all, that had the up- 
per hand ; but he won his victories over the Assembly 
only through the people, and he governed the curule 
chairs through the tribunes. The precise words which 

1 M. d'Ambly. Id. 

M. de Lantrec. * Target 

M. Lapoule. * Duport, 

M. de Gnillermy. U RivaroL 

Journals and pamphlets of the time. u Pelletier. 

348 ESSAYS. 

Mirabeau uttered were re-uttered by the crowd accom- 
panied by applause; and under the dictation of this 
applause the Legislature, often against its will, wrote. 
Libels, pamphlets, calumnies, insults, interruptions, 
menaces, hoots, roars of laughter, hisses, were all but 
pebbles flung into the current of his words, which at 
times served to make him foam. That was all. 

When this sovereign orator, smitten by some sudden 
thought, mounted the tribune; when this man found 
himself face to face with his people ; when he was 
standing there and walking on the envious Assembly, as 
the Man-God on the waters, without sinking; when 
his sardonic and luminous glance, reaching from the 
elevation of his tribune the men and ideas of his time, 
seemed to measure the littleness of the men on the scale 
of the greatness of the ideas, then he was no longer 
calumniated, nor hooted, nor insulted. All their deeds, 
all their words, all the slanders heaped up against him, 
were vain ; the first breath from his mouth as he opened 
it to speak, scattered them to the winds. On the tribune 
he was transfigured, and detraction vanished in his 

Mirabeau, in 1789, was, then, loved and hated at the 
same time, as a genius, hated by the wits; as a man, 
beloved of the people. His was an illustrious and de- 
sirable existence, for he swayed at will all hearts then 
opening to the future, converted by magic words and by 
some mysterious kind of alchemy the vague instincts 
of the multitude into thoughts and systems, into well- 
planned methods and rational schemes of amelioration 
and reform, fed the spirit of his time with all the ideas 
which his great intelligence crumbled into fragments and 
flung among the crowd, beat and threshed on the table of 
the tribune, like the wheat on the threshing-floor, the men 


and things of his century, without rest, and with all his 
might and main, separating the straw the Eepublic was 
to consume from the wheat the Revolution was to 
fructify, causing sleepless nights to Louis XVI. and to 
Eobespierre at the same time, to Louis XVL, whose 
throne he destroyed ; to Robespierre, whose guillotine he 
would have attacked, saying every morning as he awoke, 
"What ruin shall my words bring about to-day?" a 
pope in this sense, that he guided souls ; a god in this 
sense, that he guided events. 

He died in time. His was a sovereign and sublime 
head y '91 crowned it. '93 would have cut it off. 


As we follow Mirabeau step by step, from the hum- 
ble baptismal font of Bignon to the Pantheon, we see 
that like all men of his stamp and stature he was 

Such a child could not fail to be a great man. 

At the moment when he came into the world, the enor- 
mous size of his head placed the life of his mother in peril 
When the old French monarchy, his other mother, brought 
forth his fame, she too nearly died of it. 

At the age of five, Poisson, his tutor, told him to write 
on whatever came into his head. The " little one/' as we 
are told by his father, wrote literally as follows : 

11 Monsieur Jfe, I beg that you will pay attention to your 
writing and not make blots on your copy. Pay attention to 
what you are doing; obey your father, your tutor, and your 
mother; never contradict; no double-dealing, on the point of 
honour above all. Attack no one, except you are attacked 
yourself. Defend your country. Do not be unkind to the 
servants. Do not be familiar with them. Hide the faults of 

350 ESSAYS. 

your neighbour, because you may want them to do the same 
for you." 1 

When he was eleven the Duke de Nivernois wrote of 
him to the Bailli de Mirabeau, in a letter dated from St. 
Maur, on the llth of September, 1760 : 

" The other day he won a prize at a running-match. It 
was a hat. He turned round to a youth who had a cap, and 
giving him his own, which was a very good one, said: 
'Here, I have n't two heads!' This stripling appeared to 
me then worthy to be the emperor of the world. There 
was something or other god-like about him. I mused on it, 
I wept, and the lesson did me good." 

At twelve, his father said of him : " There is a noble 
heart under the jacket of that bantling. He has a 
strange instinct of pride, but of a generous character. 
This little bit of a man is a bully in a flurry, and would 
swallow the whole world before he is twelve years old." 2 

At fifteen, he had an air of such daring and haughti- 
ness that the Prince de Conti asked : " What would you 
do if I slapped your face ? " He answered, " That question 
might have been embarrassing before the invention of 
pistols for two." 

At twenty-one (1770), he began writing a history of 
Corsica, when some one else was being born there. 8 
Singular instinct of great men ! 

At the same period his father, who held a very tight 
rein over him, uttered this strange prognostic : " He is a 
bottle that has been corked and corded for twenty-one 

1 This singular document is quoted as it was written in an unpublished 
letter of the marquis to the Bailli de Mirabeau, of the 9th of December, 

2 Unpublished letter to the Countess of Rochefort, November 29, 1761. 
August 15, 1769. 


years. If he is ever uncorked suddenly, and without great 
care, there will be a fine evaporation." 

At twenty-two, he was presented at court Madame 
Elizabeth, then a child of six, asked him if he had been 
inoculated. And all the court laughed. No, he had not 
been inoculated. He bore within him the germ of a con- 
tagion that later on was to spread through a whole people. 

He presented himself at court with extreme assurance, 
with a head as high as the king's, a strange object to all, 
a hateful one to many. " He is as insinuating as I was 
shy," said the father, who had never desired to " dance 
attendance on Versailles, " not he ; " he was a wild bird 
that nested between four turrets." " He turns the great 
round and round as if they were a bundle of fagots. He 
has 'that terrible gift of familiarity/ as Gregory the 
Great used to say." And then the proud old gentleman 
adds, " Well, as the Mirabeaus, who have never been 
built like other people, have been endured for the last 
five hundred years, I suppose they will be endured stilL" 

At twenty-four, the father, as a philosophic agricul- 
turist, wishes to take his son away with him " and make 
him rural" He cannot succeed in this. " It is a very 
hard thing to handle the mouth of that fiery animal ! " 
exclaims the old man. 

The uncle, the Bailli, coolly examines the young man, 
and says, " If he is not worse than Nero, he will be better 
than Marcus Aurelius." 

" After all, we must let this green fruit ripen," replies 
the marquis. 

The father and the uncle corresponded with each other 
constantly on the future of the young man who had 
already advanced so far on the road of a bad life. ".Your 
nephew Whirlwind," said the father. " Your son, Mon- 
sieur le Comte de la Bourrasque," (squall) replied the 

352 ESSAYS. 

The BaiHi, an old sailor, adds, " The thirty-two winds 
of the compass are in his head." 

At thirty, the fruit was ripe. Already strange things 
are glistening in the deep eyes of Mirabeau. It is seen 
that he is full of thoughts. "That brain is an over- 
loaded furnace," says the prudent Bailli. At another 
time, the Bailli, in his alarm, makes this observation: 
" When anything passes into his head, he pushes it for- 
ward, and looks nowhere." 

The father, on his side, is astounded at " his tearing of 
ideas piecemeal and only seeing by flashes." He ex- 
claims, " Rummage in his head, and you find a library all 
topsy-turvy, a talent for dazzling by superficialities ; he 
has swallowed all formulas and can't substantiate ! " He 
adds, no longer comprehending this creature of his own 
making : " In childhood he was nothing but a monster of 
the male species, morally and physically." To-day, he is 
a man " all reflex and reverberation," a madman " drawn 
on the right by his heart and on the left by his head, 
which is always four yards away from him." And then 
the old man adds, with a melancholy and resigned smile : 
" I am trying to empty out into this man my brains, my 
soul, and my heart." At last, like the uncle, he has also 
his presentiments, his terrors, his anxieties, and his doubts. 
The father feels all that is stirring in the head of the son, 
"as the root feels the quivering of the leaves." 

Such was Mirabeau at thirty. He was the son of a 
father who has thus described himself: "And I too, 
madame, stiff and dull-witted as you see me now, preached 
when I was three years old ; at six, I was a prodigy ; at 
twelve, an object of hope ; at twenty, a fire-brand ; at 
thirty, a theoretical statesman ; at forty, I am merely a 
good-natured old fellow." 

At forty, Mirabeau is a great man. 

At forty, he is the man of the Revolution. 


At forty, there breaks out around Mm in France one 
of those formidable anarchies of ideas in which societies 
that have had their day are melted down. Mirabeau was 
its master. 

It was he who, silent till then, cried out to M. de 
Brgzg, on the 23d of June, 1789: "Go tell YOUE MAS- 
TEE ..." Your master ! It was to declare the King of 
France a foreigner. A whole frontier was traced between 
the throne and the people. It was the Revolution giving 
utterance to its cry. Nobody before Mirabeau would 
have dared this. Only great men pronounce the decisive 
words of the epochs. 

Later on, Louis XVI. shall be insulted more gravely in 
appearance, shall be beaten to the earth, mocked in his 
chains, hooted on the scaffold. The Republic, with arms 
akimbo, will coif herself in her red bonnet, and speak 
coarse words to him, and call him Louis Capet; but 
nothing can ever be spoken to Louis XVI. so terrible and 
effective as that fatal sentence of Mirabeau. Louis Capet ! 
it is royalty smote on the face ; your master ! it is 
royalty stricken to the heart 

And so, to date from these words, Mirabeau is the man 
of the country, the man of the great social convulsion, 
the man the end of that century had need of. To be 
popular and yet not plebeian is a rare thing in such times. 
His private life is then absorbed in his public life. Hon- 
or^ de Riquetti, that abandoned man, is henceforth illus- 
trious, worthy of attention and worthy of consideration. 
The love of the people is his armour against the sarcasms 
of his enemies. His person is the cynozure of every eye. 
The passers-by stop as he crosses the street; and, for 
two years that are left him, the little children of the 
people write his name unrebuked on all the corners of 
the walls of Paris, that name which Saint-Simon eighty 
years before wrote Mirebaut, with the scorn natural to a 
v. 28 

354 ESSAYS. 

peer and duke, and without suspecting that Mirebaut 
would become Mirabeau. 

There are very striking parallels in the lives of certain 
men. Cromwell, while still obscure, despairing of his 
future in England, wishes to embark for Jamaica; the 
orders of Charles I. prevent him. The father of Mira- 
beau, not seeing any possible existence for his son in 
France, wishes to send the young man to the Dutch 
Colonies. An order from the king forbids it. Now, take 
away Cromwell from the English Revolution, take away 
Mirabeau from the French Revolution, and you perhaps 
take away from the two revolutions two scaffolds. Who 
knows if Jamaica would not have saved Charles I., and 
Batavia Louis XVI. ? 

But no, the King of England will keep Cromwell ; the 
King of France will keep Mirabeau. When a king is 
condemned to death, Providence bandages his eyes. 

Strange that what is greatest in the history of a society 
should depend on what is least in the life of a man ! 

The first part of the life of Mirabeau is filled up with 
Sophie, the second with the Revolution, 

A domestic storm, then a political storm, such was the 
destiny of Mirabeau. When we give a closer examina- 
tion to this destiny, we gain an idea of whatever was 
fatal and necessary in it. The deviations of his heart 
are explained by the shocks of his life. 

For just consider the matter. Never have causes been 
more closely joined to effects than here. Chance gave him 
a father who taught him to despise his mother; a mother 
who taught him to hate his father ; a tutor, Poisson, who 
did not like children, and who used him harshly because 
he was small and ugly; a valet, GrSvin, who was the 
base spy of his enemies ; a colonel, the Marquis de Lam- 
bert, who was as pitiless for the youth as Poisson had 
been for the child ; a step-mother (not married though), 


Madame de Pailly, who hated him because he was not 
her own; a wife, Mademoiselle de Marignane, who re- 
pulsed him; a caste, the noblesse, which repudiated him; 
judges, the parliament of Besanqon, who condemned him 
to death ; a king, Louis XV., who bastiled him. 

Thus, father, mother, wife, his tutor, his colonel, the 
magistracy, the noblesse, the king, that is to say, all that 
surrounds and skirts the existence of a man in the legiti- 
mate and natural order, was for him a cross, an obstacle, 
a stumbling-block, an occasion of wounds and bruises, a 
stone hard to his naked feet, a thicket of thorns tearing 
him on his way. Family and society were both his step- 
mothers. He met in life only two things that treated 
him well and loved him, two irregular things in revolt 
against order, a mistress and a revolution. 

Do not be astonished then, if for the mistress he broke 
all domestic ties, if for the revolution he broke all social 

Do not be astonished, to solve the question in the 
terms we have laid down at the beginning, if this demon 
of a family becomes the idol of a mistress in rebellion 
against her husband, and the god of a nation divorced 
from its king. 


THE grief caused by the death of Mirabeau was a grief 
general, universal, and national. It was felt that some- 
thing of the public thought had vanished with that souL 
But a striking fact, and one necessary to speak of, because 
it would be artless to attribute it to the hasty and unre- 
flecting admiration of his contemporaries, is that the court 
wore mourning for him as well as the people. 

An insurmountable feeling of shame hinders us from 
sounding here certain mysteries, certain shameful quali- 

356 ESSAYS. 

ties of the great man, which besides, in our opinion are 
lost in the colossal proportions of the ensemble ; but it 
appears proved that in the latter part of his days the 
court had, as it affirmed, something to hope from him. 
It is patent that at this period he fired up angrily more 
than once at the excess of revolutionary enthusiasm; 
that he manifested at times the desire to cry halt and 
bring back somewhat of the past ; that he who had such 
powerful lungs did not follow without breathlessness the 
march of new ideas becoming ever more and more accele- 
rated, and that on some occasions he essayed to spoke the 
wheels of the Kevolution, though he himself had forged 

Fatal wheels, which crush so many venerable things 
on their passage 1 

There are still to-day many persons who think that 
if Mirabeau had lived longer he would have finally sub- 
dued the movement he had unchained. In their sense, 
the French Revolution might have been arrested by a 
single man ; and that man was Mirabeau. According to 
this opinion, founded on some words of Mirabeau on his 
death-bed, which he surely never uttered, 1 the death of 
Mirabeau was the ruin of the monarchy ; if Mirabeau had 
lived, Louis XVI. would not have died ; and the 2d of 
April, 1791, has brought to life the 21st of January, 1793. 

According to us, those who believed so at the time, 
Mirabeau himself among the number, were mistaken, and 
so are those who believe so to-day. A pure optical illu- 
sion in Mirabeau as in others, proving that a great man 
has not always a plain idea of the kind of power that is 
in him. 

The French Eevolution was not a simple fact There 
was more in it than Mirabeau. 

1 " I bear with roe the mourning weeds of the monarchy. After me 
the faction* will dispute the pieces/' Cabanis thought he heard this. 


The going out from it of Mirabeau would not suffice 
to empty it 

There was in the French ^Revolution something of the 
past and something of the future. Mirabeau was but the 

To indicate here only two culminating points, the 
French Eevolution was complicated with Richelieu in 
the past and with Bonaparte in the future. 

There is this peculiarity about revolutions, that they 
cannot be killed when they are still pregnant 

Moreover, even supposing the question more trivial 
than it really is, it is to be observed that, in political 
matters especially, what a man has done can rarely be 
undone except by another man. 

The Mirabeau of '91 was impotent against the Mira- 
beau of '89. His work was stronger than he. 

And then, men like Mirabeau are not the lock with 
which the gates of revolutions can be closed. They are 
but the hinge on which it turns, to close, it is true, as 
well as to open. To shut that fatal door, on whose pan- 
els are ever beating all the restless ideas, all the restless 
interests, and all the restless passions of society, a sword 
in guise of a bolt must be thrust into the iron-work. 


WE have attempted to characterize what Mirabeau was 
in the family and what he has been in the nation. It 
now remains for us to examine what he will be among 

Notwithstanding certain reproaches of which he has 
deservingly been made the target, we believe that Mira- 
beau will continue great 

In presence of posterity every man and everything is 
absolved by greatness. 

358 ESSAYS. 

To-day, when almost all the things he has sown have 
given us their fruits which we have tasted, the greater 
part good and healthful, some bitter ; to-day, when the 
successes and failures of his life have nothing incon- 
gruous in our eyes, so much do the years that pass place 
men in their true perspective ; to-day, when there is for 
his genius neither adoration nor execration, and this man, 
so furiously tossed about from post to pillar while he 
lived, has taken the calm and serene attitude that death 
gives to great historic figures ; to-day, when his memory, 
so long dragged in the mud and kissed on the altar, has 
been withdrawn from the Pantheon of Voltaire and the 
sewer of Marat, we rnay coldly say, " Mirabeau is great." 
The odour of the Pantheon and not the odour of the 
sewer clings to him. Impartial history in wiping his 
locks, sullied in the gutter, has not taken from him his 
aureole. The mud has been washed from that visage, 
and it still continues to shine. 

After rendering an account of the immense political 
consequences produced by the sum total of his faculties, 
we may consider Mirabeau under a twofold aspect, as a 
writer and as an orator. Here we take the liberty of 
differing with Rivarol, we believe Mirabeau was greater 
as an orator than as a writer. 

The Marquis de Mirabeau, his father, had two kinds of 
style, two pens, as it were, in his inkstand. When he 
wrote a book, a good book for the public, for -effect, for 
the court, for the Bastille, for the grand staircase of the 
Palace of Justice, the worthy patrician draped himself, 
stiffened his limbs, swelled out his proportions, veiled his 
thoughts, already obscure enough of themselves, with all 
the pomps of expression ; and it is impossible to fancy 
under what a style, at once flat and bombastic, heavy and 
languid, with interminable phrases dragging at its tail, 
loaded with neologies to such an extent as to banish all 


cohesion from the tissue, under what a style, we repeat, 
altogether colourless and incorrect, the natural and indis- 
putable originality of this strange writer is travestied; 
writer, half gentleman and half philosopher, preferring 
Quesnay to Socrates and Lefranc de Pompignan to 
Pindar ; disdaining Montesquieu as behind the times, and 
submitting to be scolded by his cur6; an amphibious 
dweller among the reveries of the eighteenth century 
and the prejudices of the sixteenth. But when this man, 
this same man, wished to write a letter, when he forgot 
the public and addressed himself only to the long, stiff, 
and rigid demeanour of his venerable brother, the Bailli, 
or his daughter, little Saillanette? "the most emollient 
woman that ever was/' or to the pretty, smiling face of 
Madame de Rochefort, then that spirit, inflated with pre- 
tention, relaxed ; no more effort, no more fatigue, no more 
apoplectic distention in the expression ; his thoughts, as 
they are scattered over the family letter become vivid, 
original, highly coloured, curious, amusing, profound, gra- 
cious, in fine, natural ; the echo of that grand aristo- 
cratic style of the time of Louis XIV., which Saint-Simon 
spoke with all the qualities of the man and Madame de 
S6vign with all the qualities of the woman. An idea 
may be formed of it from the fragments we have quoted. 
After a book of the Marquis de Mirabeau, a letter of his 
is a revelation. We can hardly believe our eyes. Bouffon 
would not comprehend such contrasts in the same writer. 
You have two styles and only one man. 

In this respect, the son bore some likeness to the father. 
It might be said, though with certain limitations and 
modifications, that there is the same difference between 
his written style and his spoken style. Let us only 
remark this, that the father was at his ease in a letter, 
the son in a discourse. To be himself, to be natural, to 
i Madame da Safflao*. 

360 E8SAT8. 

be in his proper environment, the one needed a family, 
the other a nation. 

The Mirabeau that writes is something less than Mira- 
beau. Whether he demonstrates to the young American 
Eepublic the folly of its " Order of Cincinnati^," and the 
inconsistency of an order of chivalry among ploughmen ; 
or with his " Sur la libert^ de 1'Escaut " plagues Joseph IL, 
the philosophic emperor, the Titus of Voltaire, the bust 
of a Eoman Caesar after the Pompadour style ; or rum- 
mages in both bottoms of the cabinet at Berlin and 
draws therefrom that Histoire secrete which the court of 
France ordered to be judicially consigned to the flames 
on the steps of the Palace of Justice (a noteworthy 
blunder ; for from those books burned by the hand of the 
executioner there always escaped some little flakes and 
sparks, which scattered at the will of the wind and 
alighted on the worm-eaten roof of the great European 
society, on the carpentry of monarchies, on all minds full 
of inflammable ideas, on all heads made of tow at that 
period); or casually inveighs against that cart-load of 
charlatans which made so much noise on the pavement of 
the eighteenth century, Necker, Beaumarchais, Lavater, 
Calonne, and Cagliostro ; in fine, whatever be the book he 
writes, his thought is always adequate to the subject, but 
his style is not always adequate to the thought. His 
ideas are ever grand and lofty; but to get out of his 
brain they have to stoop and shrink as if under a door 
too low. Except in his eloquent letters to Madame de 
Monnier, in which he is his real self, speaking rather 
than writing, and which are harangues of love 1 quite as 
much as his discourses to the Constituant are harangues of 
revolution, except these, we repeat, the style he discovers 
in his inkstand is in general commonplace in form, badly 

1 Of course we only apeak thn0 of the letters that are pure paulon. AJ 
to the othen we throw over them the veil propriety requires. 


connected, pithless, nerveless at the end of his phrases, 
dry besides, coloured in dull fashion by means of trite 
epithets, poor in images, or offering here and there only 
eccentric mosaics of incoherent metaphors. We feel 
while reading that the ideas of this man are not, like 
those of the great prose-writers to the manner born, made 
up of that peculiar substance which, soft and subtle, 
lends itself to all the chisellings of expression which finds 
its way boiling and liquid into all the nooks of the mould 
into which the writer pours it, and then hardens ; lava 
first, granite after. We feel while reading that many 
things have remained in his head which it were as well 
had not stayed there, that this genius has not been so 
fashioned as to express itself completely in a book, and 
that a pen is not the best possible conductor for all the 
fluids compressed in that brain filled with thunders. 

The Mirabeau who speaks is the real Mirabeau. The 
Mirabeau who speaks is the water running, the wave 
foaming, the fire sparkling, the bird in its flight, some* 
thing that makes its own peculiar noise, a nature fulfill- 
ing its own law. A spectacle of eternal sublimity and 
harmony ! 

On the tribune all his contemporaries are unanimous 
on this point, Mirabeau was something magnificent. 
There he was himself, wholly himself, a self all-power- 
fuL There, no more table, no more paper, no more ink- 
stand bristling with pens, no more solitary cabinet, no 
more silence and meditation; but a marble which can 
be smote, a ladder which can be mounted, a tribune that 
is a species of cage for this wild beast, on which he can 
come and go, walk, stop, breathe, gasp, cross his arms, 
clinch his fists, paint his words by a gesture, and illumine 
his idea by a glance ; a heap of men he can gaze on eye 
to eye ; a great tumult, magnificent accompaniment for 
a great voioe ; a crowd that hates the orator (the Assem- 


bly) enveloped in a crowd that loves him (the people) ; 
around him all these intelligences, all these passions, all 
these mediocrities, all these ambitions, all these diverse 
natures which he knows, and from which he can draw 
whatever sound he wills as from an immense harpsichord; 
above him the vault of the hall of the Constituant Assem- 
bly, towards which his eyes are often raised as if to seek 
there his thoughts, for monarchies are overthrown by the 
ideas that fall from such a vault on such a head 

Oh, how much that man is at his ease there, on his 
own ground! How sure and firm his footing! How 
great is that genius in a discourse which becomes so 
small in books ! How happily the tribune has changed 
the conditions of exterior production for that thought! 
After Mirabeau the writer, Mirabeau the orator, what 
a transfiguration ! 

In him everything was potent. His abrupt and sud- 
den gestures were full of empire. In the tribune he had 
a colossal movement of the shoulders, like the elephant 
that carries an armed tower in battle. He too was carry- 
ing his thought. His voice, even at the time he but 
thundered a word from his bench, had a formidable and 
revolutionary tone which was recognized in the Assembly 
as like the roar of the lion in the menagerie. His locks, 
when he shook his head, were not unlike a mane. The 
movement of his eyebrows agitated all around him, like 
that of Jupiter, cuncta superalio moventis. His hands 
sometimes seemed to knead the marble of the tribune. 
His whole countenance, his whole attitude, his whole 
person, was swollen with a plethoric arrogance that had 
its grandeur. His head had a grandiose and thunderous 
ugliness, whose effect was at moments electric and terri- 
ble. In the early stages, when nothing was visibly de- 
cided for or against royalty; when the contest seemed 
still nearly equal between the monarchy, still strong, and 


the theories, which were still weak ; when none of the 
ideas which were, later on, to hold the future had yet 
arrived at their perfect growth; when the Revolution, 
badly guarded and badly armed, could apparently be 
easily taken by assault, it sometimes happened that the 
Right, believing it had thrown down some wall of the 
fortress, rushed on it en masse with cries of victory; 
then the monstrous head of Mirabeau appeared at the 
breach and petrified the assailants. The genius of the 
Revolution had forged an aegis with all the amalgamated 
doctrines of Voltaire, Helvetius, Diderot, Bayle, Montes- 
quieu, Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, and had fixed the 
head of Mirabeau in the middle. 

He was not only great on the tribune, he was great in 
his seat; in him the interrupter was equal to the orator. 
He often put as much in a word as in a discourse. " La- 
fayette has an army," he said to M, de Suleau, " but I 
have my head." He interrupted Robespierre with this 
profound remark: "That man will go far, he believes 
every word he says." 

He dealt thus with the court when an occasion arose : 
" The court is starving the people. Treason ! The peo- 
ple will sell it the Constitution for bread ! " All the in- 
stinct of the great revolutionist is in that word. 

" The Abb Sieyes ! " he said, " a metaphysician travel- 
ling on a map." A keen thrust at the man of theory 
ever ready to bestride seas and mountains. 

His simplicity at times was admirable. One day, or 
rather one evening, in his discourse of the 3d of May, 
at the moment when he was struggling, like an athlete 
with a cestus on each hand, with his left arm aimed at 
the AbW Maury and his right at Robespierre, M. de 
Cazalfes, with all the assurance of mediocrity, interrupted 
him in this fashion : " You are a babbler, and that is all*" 
Mirabeau turned towards the AbW Gontes, who was in 

364 ESSAYS. 

the chair: "Monsieur le President/' he said with child- 
like grandeur, " please stop M. de Cazalfes, who is calling 
me a babbler." 

The National Assembly wanted to begin an address to 
the king with these words: "The Assembly brings to the 
feet of your Majesty an offering," etc. " Majesty has no 
feet," said Mirabeau coldly. 

A little farther on the Assembly wished to say that 
" it is intoxicated with the glory of its king/ 1 " Eeally ? " 
objected Mirabeau ; " people who make laws and who are 
intoxicated ! " 

Sometimes with a phrase that might have been trans- 
lated from Tacitus, he characterized the history and na- 
ture of an entire sovereign house. He cried out to the 
ministers, for example : " Speak not to me of your Duke 
of Savoy, a bad neighbour to all liberty ! " 

Sometimes he laughed, a formidable thing the laugh 
of Mirabeau. 

He ridiculed the Bastille. " There have been/' he said, 
" fifty-four lettres de cachets in my family, and I have had 
seventeen for my share. So you see I was treated as an 
elder brother of Normandy." He ridiculed himself. He 
was accused by M. de Valfond of having gone through 
the ranks of the Regiment of Flanders on the 6th of 
October, with a naked sabre in his hand, and of speaking 
to the soldiers. Some one proved that the matter con- 
cerned M. de Gamaches, and not Mirabeau ; and Mirabeau 
added, " So everything having been weighed, everything 
having been examined, the deposition of M. de Valfond 
contains nothing very unpleasant for any one except M. 
de Gamaches, who finds himself legally and vehemently 
suspected of being very ugly, since he resembles me/' 

Sometimes he smiled. When the question of the 
Regency was on debate before the . Assembly, the Left 
thought of the Duke of Orleans, and the Right of the 


Prince of Cond, then an emigri in Germany. Mira- 
beau moved that no prince can be regent, except he took 
the oath to the Constitution. M. de Montlosier objected 
that a prince might have reasons for not having taken 
the oath ; for instance, he might have made a journey 
beyond the sea. Mirabeau answered, "The discourse 
of the last speaker will be printed. I demand leave to 
correct an error in it For 'beyond the sea/ read, 
* beyond the Rhine.' " And this pleasantry decided the 
question. Thus did the great orator sometimes play with 
what he killed. To believe the naturalists, there is some- 
thing of the cat in the lion. 

On another occasion, when the procureurs of the As- 
sembly had muddled a text of law with their bad editing, 
Mirabeau rose : " I ask leave to make a few timid reflec- 
tions on the propriety of the National Assembly speak- 
ing French, and even writing in French the laws it 

At moments, in the midst of his most violent popular 
harangues, he suddenly recalled who he was, and there 
would be some flashes of the patrician from him. It was 
at that time an oratorical custom to interject into every 
discourse some imprecation or other on the massacres 
of Saint Bartholomew. Mirabeau uttered his imprecation 
like everybody else ; but he said, in passing : " The Ad- 
miral de Coligny, who, by way of parenthesis, was my 
cousin." The parenthesis was worthy of the man whose 
father wrote : " There has been only one misalliance in 
my family, the Medicis." "My cousin, the Admiral 
de Coligny would have been pointless at the court of 
Louis XIV. ; it was sublime at the court of the people of 
1791." At another time he spoke of his " worthy cousin 
the Keeper of the Seals, 11 1 but it was in a different tone. 

On the 22d September, 1789, the king made an offer 
*M.deB*rentiii. Session of June 24, 1789. 


of his gold and silver plate for the needs of the State. 
The Bight fell into ecstasies of admiration and wept 
" As for myself," cried Mirabeau, " I do not easily become 
tearful over the faience of the great" 

His disdain was fine, his laugh was fine, but his anger 
was sublime. 

When an effort to irritate him succeeded, when one of 
those keen blades that make the orator and the bull 
bound from the earth, was plunged into his side, if this, 
for example, occurred in the middle of a discourse, he at 
once abandoned everything, left his ideas still incomplete, 
troubled himself little that the edifice of reasoning he had 
been building up crumbled behind him for want of the 
final crowning stone ; he gave up the question on the spot, 
and rushed with lowered head on the incident Then, 
woe to the interrupter 1 woe to the toreador who had 
flung the banderilla! Mirabeau was on him at once, 
seized him by the waist, raised him in the air, and tram- 
pled him under his feet He drew back from him, re- 
turned, bruised and mangled him. He took hold of the 
entire man in the words he uttered, whoever he was, 
great or small, wicked or worthless, mud or dust, and 
caught him up with his life, his character, his ambition, 
his vices, his follies ; he omitted nothing, he spared noth- 
ing, he missed nothing; he knocked him against the 
four corners of the tribune in his desperation ; he made 
his hearers tremble, he made them laugh. Every word 
told, every phrase was an arrow; he had fury in his 
heart ; he was terrible and superb. His was the anger of 
the lion. A great and potent orator, but never so fine as 
then ! Then was the time to see in what fashion he 
chased away all clouds from the discussion I Then was 
the time to see how his stormy breath made every head 
in the assembly bristle with terror! Strange fact! he 
never reasoned better than when he was in a rage. The 


most violent irritation, far from disuniting the chain of 
his eloquence in the shocks which it caused him, set free 
a sort of superior logic within his mind, and he found 
arguments in fury as others do metaphors. Whether the 
sharp-pointed teeth of his sarcasm left their mark on the 
pale forehead of Bobespierre, who, two years later, was to 
treat heads as Phocion treated discourses ; or whether he 
chewed in his rage the wearisome dilemmas of the Abb 
Maury and spat them back at the Eight, twisted, torn, 
dislocated, half devoured, and all covered with the foam 
of his wrath ; or plunged the claws of his syllogism into 
the soft and flabby phrase of the advocate Target, he was 
great and magnificent, and had a sort of formidable ma- 
jesty that the most frantic bounds never disordered. Our 
fathers have told us that they who had not seen Mira- 
beau in anger had not seen Mirabeau. In anger his 
genius was at its best and displayed all its splendours. 
Anger suited this man, as the tempest does the ocean. 

And, without intending, in what we have just written 
for the purpose of shadowing forth the supernatural elo- 
quence of Mirabeau, we have painted him by a confusion 
of images even, Mirabeau was, in fact, not merely the 
bull, or the lion, or the tiger, or the athlete, or the archer, 
or the eagle, or the peacock, or the tempest, or the ocean ; 
he was, by an indefinite series of surprising metamor- 
phoses, all this at once ; he was Proteus. 

For whoever has seen or heard him, his discourses are 
to-day a dead letter. The colour, the breath, the life, the 
soul, the flash, the relief, have all disappeared. Every- 
thing in these fine harangues lies to-day flat on the earth. 
Where is the inspiration that whirled all these ideas 
around like leaves in a hurricane ? The word is there, 
but where is the gesture ? The cry is there, but where 
is the accent ? The language is there, but where is the 
look ? The discourse is there, but where is the drama 


of that discourse ? For it is necessary to say that in 
every orator there are two things, the actor and the 
man. Talma is entirely dead. Mirabeau is half dead. 

In the Constituant Assembly there was one thing that 
frightened those who regarded it attentively, it was the 
Convention. To all who have studied this epoch, it was 
evident that from 1789 the Convention was in the Con- 
stituant Assembly. It was there in the state of germ, in 
the state of foetus, in the state of outline. To the multi- 
tude it was still something indistinct ; for him who could 
see, it was already something terrible. A nothing doubt- 
less; a shade blacker than the general colour; a note 
sometimes thundering in the orchestra ; a surly refrain in 
a chorus of hopes and illusions ; a detail in which there 
was a certain want of concord with the ensemble ; a 
sombre group in an obscure corner ; some mouths giving 
a certain accent to certain words; thirty voices (only 
thirty voices), which later were to branch out, according 
to an appalling law of multiplication, into Girondins, the 
Plain and the Mountain, '93, in a word ; the dark spot in 
the azure sky of '89. Everything was already in this dark 
spot: the 21st of January, the 31st of May, the 9th Thermi- 
dor, a bloody trilogy ; Buzot, who was to devour Louis 
XVI., Robespierre, who was to devour Buzot, Vadier, who 
was to devour Robespierre, a sinister trinity. Among 
these men the most vulgar and the most ignorant, H^brard 
and Putraink, for example, smiled strangely during the 
discussions, and seemed to have some thought on the 
future which they did not tell. In our opinion, the his- 
torian ought to have microscopes for the purpose of exam- 
ining the formation of one assembly in the womb of 
another. It is a species of gestation which is often 
reproduced in history, and which, as far as we can see, 
has not been sufficiently observed. In the present case 
this mysterious excrescence on the surface of the leg- 



islative body was no insignificant detail, containing as 
it did the scaffold already prepared for the King of 
France; a vulture's egg born by an eagle. From that 
time several sound minds in the Constituant Assembly 
were frightened at the presence of these few impenetrable 
men who seemed to be holding themselves in reserve for 
another epoch. They felt that there were many whirl- 
winds in these breasts from which scarcely a breeze es- 
caped. They asked themselves whether or not these 
tempests would be let loose some day, and what then 
should become of all the things essential to civilization 
which '89 had not uprooted. Babaut Saint-lStienne, 
who believed the Revolution terminated, and said so 
quite aloud, gave anxious attention to Robespierre, who 
did not believe it begun, and said so quite low. The 
present demolishes of the monarchy trembled before the 
future demolishers of society. The latter, like all men 
who hold the future and who know it, were supercili- 
ous, morose, arrogant, and the lowest among them dis- 
dainfully elbowed the leaders of the Assembly. The 
most worthless and the most obscure hurled insolent 
interruptions at the most thoughtful orators, as their 
humour and fancy led them ; and as every one knew that 
there were events ready at hand for these men to deal 
with in the near future, none dare reply to them. It was 
in such moments, when the Assembly that one day was 
to be, terrified the Assembly that was, it was then that 
the exceptional power of Mirabeau shone in all its splen- 
dour. With the feeling of his omnipotence, and with no 
suspicion that he was doing a great thing, he cried to the 
sinister group, which was preventing a speaker from 
being heard : " Silence among the thirty t voices 1 " and the 
Convention held its peace. 

That cave of jolus remained still and was curbed aa 
long as Mirabeau held his foot on the cover. 
VOL. XXIT. 24 

370 ESSAYS. 

When Mirabeau was dead, all the ulterior anarchic 
projects broke loose. 

As we said before, we believe Mirabeau died seasonably* 
After unchaining many tempests in the State, it is evi- 
dent that for a time he crushed under his weight all the 
divergent forces for which the completion of the ruin he 
had begun was reserved. But the very pressure on them 
condensed them, and sooner or later the revolutionary 
explosion must, in our opinion, have found an issue, and 
would have hurled Mirabeau far in the distance, giant 
though he was. 

Let us conclude. 

If we had to sum up Mirabeau in one word, we would 
say : Mirabeau is not a man, is not a people, but an event, 
an event which speaks. 

An immense event, the fall of the monarchical govern- 
ment in France ! 

With Mirabeau, neither the monarchy nor the republic 
were possible. The monarchy excluded him by its hier- 
archy, the republic by its level Mirabeau is a man that 
passes through an epoch in a state of preparation. In 
order that the wings of Mirabeau should unfold at their 
ease, it was necessary for the social atmosphere to be in 
that condition in which there is nothing fixed, nothing 
rooted in the soil which can resist, in which every obsta- 
cle to the free course of theories is easily stemmed, in 
which the principles that are one day to make the solid 
basis of future society are yet in suspension, without too 
much form or consistency, waiting, in their intermediate 
state, where they float confusedly in eddies, till the mo- 
ment comes for falling and crystallizing. Every institution 
firmly established has corners against which the genius 
of Mirabeau would have broken its wings. Mirabeau 
had a profound sense of things ; he also had a profound 
understanding of men. After his arrival at the States 


General, he studied with close attention and silence the 
various groups, so picturesque at the time of the different 
parties, outside the Assembly as well as within. He de- 
tected the incapacity of Mounier, Malouet, and De Eabaut 
Saint-fitienne, who all were pondering a settlement on 
English constitutional lines, lie estimated with calm- 
ness the passion of Chapelier, the succinctness of Potion, 
the literary magniloquence of Volney, the Abb Maury, 
who sought a place ; D'pr6menil and Adrian Duport, par- 
liamentarians in ill-humour and not tribunes; Roland, 
that zero, whose wife was the numeral ; Gregoire, who 
was in a condition of political somnambulism. He looked 
into the depths of the soul of Siey&s, hard though it was 
to fathom. He intoxicated Cainille Desmoulins with 
his ideas, whose head was not strong enough to bear 
them. He fascinated Danton, who resembled him in 
being less great and more ugly. He did not attempt to 
win the Guillermys, the Lautrecs, or the Cazalfes, for 
these had characters irresolvable in revolutions. He felt 
that everything was going on so fast that there was no 
time to lose. Besides being full of courage and never 
afraid of the man of the day, which is rare, nor of the 
man of the morrow, which is rarer still, he was during 
all his life bold with those who were powerful ; he at- 
tacked in succession and during their periods of author- 
ity, Maupeon and Terray, Calonne and Necker. He 
approached the Duke of Orleans, touched him, and left 
him at once. He looked Robespierre in the face and 
askance at Marat 

He had been locked up successively in the lie de Rh, 
in the Castle of If, in the fort of Joux, and the keep of 
Vincennes. He had revenge for all in the taking of the 

In his captivities he read Tacitus; he devoured him; 
he lived on him ; and when he ascended the tribune in 

372 ESSAYS. 

1789, he had his mouth still full of this marrow of lions. 
The first words he uttered showed it 

He had no understanding of the aims of Robespierre 
and Marat He looked on the one as a lawyer without 
cases, and on the other as a doctor without patients, and 
he supposed their disappointments had driven them insane, 
an opinion which had its true side also. He turned his 
back completely on the things that were advancing with 
such rapid strides behind him. Like all great radical 
regenerators, his eyes were much more firmly fixed on 
social questions than on political questions. His work 
was not the Republic, it was the Eevolution. 

That he was the truly great, the essential man of those 
times, is proved by the fact that he has remained greater 
to-day than any of the men who became great after him 
in the same order of ideas. 

His father, who no Inore understood him, although he 
had begotten him, than the Constituant understood the 
Convention, said of him : " That man is neither the end 
nor the beginning of a man." He was right. "That 
man " was the end of one society and the beginning of 

Mirabeau was not of less importance to the general 
work of the eighteenth century than Voltaire had been. 
These two men had like missions, to destroy what was 
old and to prepare what was new. The labours of the 
one were continued, and occupied him during his whole 
life, and that before the eyes of Europe. The other 
appeared upon the scene but a few instants. To do their 
common work, Voltaire was granted years and Mirabeau 
days ; yet Mirabeau has not done less than Voltaire. 
Each attacked the life of the social body after his fashion. 
Voltaire decomposed; Mirabeau crushed. The method 
of Voltaire is in some sort chemical, that of Mirabeau is 
entirely physical After Voltaire, a society is in a state 


of dissolution ; after Mirabeau, it is dust Voltaire is an 
acid, Mirabeau a club. 


IF now, in order to complete the sketch we have en- 
deavoured to give of Mirabeau and his epoch, we give 
a glance to our own situation, it is easy to see, on view- 
ing the point the social movement begun in '89 has 
reached to-day, that we shall no longer have men like 
Mirabeau ; nor can any one tell us what proportions the 
great statesmen reserved for us by the future, may 

The Mirabeaus are no longer necessary ; besides, they 
are no longer possible. 

Providence does not create such men when they are 
useless. It does not fling such seed to the wind. 

And in fact, what service could a Mirabeau render 
now ? A Mirabeau is a thunderbolt ; what is there to 
strike with the thunder ? Where are there objects in the 
political regions so highly placed that they attract the 
thunder ? We are no longer in 1789, when inequalities 
in the social order were so enormous. 

To-day the soil is pretty nearly level ; everything is 
smooth, open, and even. A tempest like Mirabeau pass- 
ing over us would not find a single summit on which to 
lay hold. 

But we must not say that, because we shall no longer 
need a Mirabeau, therefore, we no longer need great men. 
Quite the reverse. There is surely much work to be done 
yet Everything has been unmade, nothing has been 
made anew. 

In times like those in which we live, the party of the 
future is divided into two classes, the men of revolution 
and the men of progress. It is the men of revolution 

374 ESSAYS. 

who tear up the old political ground, dig the furrow and 
scatter the seed ; but their day is short To the men of 
progress belong the slow and laborious culture of princi- 
ples, the study of the seasons favourable to the grafting 
of such and such an idea, the watering of the young 
plant, the manuring of the soil, the harvest for all. They 
are bent and patient, under sun or rain, in the public field, 
removing the stones from that land covered with ruins, 
grubbing up the stumps of the past, which still keep 
their hold here and there, uprooting the dead stocks of 
the old rtgimes, hoeing out abuses, those weeds that 
grow so quick in all the swamps of the law. To do this 
they require a good eye, a good foot, and a good hand. 
Worthy and conscientious toilers, often very badly 

Now, in our opinion, the men of the revolution have 
accomplished their task at this very time. They have 
recently had their Three Days of July. Let them, then, 
permit the men of progress to accomplish theirs. After 
the furrow, the ear of corn. 

Mirabeau was the great man of revolution. We want 
now the great man of progress. 

We will have him. France has too important an initi- 
ative in the civilization of the globe, to ever experience 
the need of special men for her special work. France is 
the majestic mother of all the ideas that are to-day doing 
their mission among all the nations. We may say that 
France, for two centuries, has been feeding the nations 
with the milk of her breasts. The blood of the great 
nation is generous and rich and her womb fruitful ; her 
supply of genius is inexhaustible ; she draws out of her 
bosom all the great intellects she needs ; she has always 
men who rise to the height of her issues ; and when the 
occasion calls, she lacks neither Mirabeaus to begin her 
revolutions nor Bonapartes to end them. 


Providence is sure not to refuse the great social man 
she feels the want of ; the political man she requires no 

While hoping for his advent, we must admit that the 
men who are making history to-day are, with very few 
exceptions, small; undoubtedly the great bodies of the 
State lack general ideas and broad sympathies, and it is 
sad that they should do so ; undoubtedly it is melancholy 
to see the time that should be employed in rearing struc- 
tures employed in mere plastering; undoubtedly it is 
strange men should forget that the true sovereignty is 
that of the intellect, that, above all, the masses should be 
enlightened, and that when the people shall be intelli- 
gent, then only shall it be sovereign ; undoubtedly it is 
shameful that the magnificent premises of '89 should 
have brought in their train certain corollaries, just as 
the head of the mermaid brings in its train the tail of 
the fish, and that bricklayers should have laid so many 
laws of plaster over walls of granite ; undoubtedly it is 
deplorable that the French Revolution should have so 
many unskilful accoucheurs ; undoubtedly all this is to 
be lamented. 

But nothing has yet been done that cannot be repaired. 
No essential principle has been stifled in the revolution* 
ary childbirth ; no abortion has taken place ; all the ideas 
important to future civilization have been born with a 
capacity for living, and are each endowed with strength, 
beauty, and health. Assuredly, when 1814 arrived, all 
these ideas, the daughters of the Revolution, were still 
very young and very small, and, indeed, quite in the 
cradle ; and the restoration was, we must admit, but a 
lean and sorry nurse for them. But we must admit 
also that she killed none of them. The group of princi- 
ples is complete. 

All criticism is possible at the present hour; still, the 

376 ESSAYS. 

wise man ought to view his whole epoch with a benevo- 
lent eye. He ought to hope, to trust, to wait He ought 
to have consideration for the men of theory, on account 
of the slowness with which they urge their ideas ; for the 
men of practice, on account of their narrow and useful 
love of the things that are, without which successive 
experiments would disorganize society ; for the passions, 
with their fruitful and generous digressions; for self- 
interest, because its calculations, in the absence of creeds, 
bind the classes together ; for governments, on account 
of their tentative gropings in the dark towards the gen- 
eral good; for the opposing parties, because the goad 
they have ever in their hands force the oxen to trace the 
furrow ; for the moderate parties, because of the mildness 
they bring to transitions; for the extreme parties, be- 
cause of the activity they give to the circulation of ideas, 
which are the life-blood of civilization; for the friends 
of the past, because of the care they take of such roots as 
still live ; for the zealots of the future, because of their 
love of those fine flowers which will one day be fine 
fruits ; for middle-aged men, because of their moderation; 
for young men, because of their patience ; for some, on 
account of what they are doing ; for others, on account 
of what they wish to do ; for all, on account of the diffi- 
culty of everything. 

Nor shall we deny either all that is stormy and 
troubled in the age in which we live. Most of the men 
who are doing something in the State do not know what 
they are doing. They are working in the night, and do 
not see. To-morrow, when it is day, they will be, per- 
haps, surprised at their work. Charmed or frightened, 
who knows? There is no longer anything settled in 
political science. All compasses are lost; society is 
dragging its anchors ; during the last twenty years that 
great mast which is called dynasty, and which is always 


the first stricken by the lightning, has been changed 
three times. 

The final law of anything is not yet revealed. The 
government, such as it is, is not the affirmation of any- 
thing ; the press, otherwise so great and useful, is only 
the perpetual negation of everything. No clear formula 
of civilization and progress has so far been drawn up. 

The French Revolution opened for all social theories 
an immense book, a sort of grand testament There 
Mirabeau wrote his word, Robespierre his, Napoleon his. 
Louis XVIII. made an erasure, Charles IX. tore out a 
page. The Chamber of the 2d of August pasted it in 
again, almost; but this is all. The book is there, the 
pen is there. Who will dare write ? 

The men of the present seem of little account, no 
doubt; yet every one who thinks ought to fix on the 
present effervescence an attentive look. 

Certainly, our confidence is firm and our hope assured. 

Who among us does not feel, amid the tumult and 
the tempest, amid the conflicts of all the systems and all 
the ambitions that raise so much smoke and dust, that 
under yonder veil still hiding from our eyes the social 
and providential statue hardly yet hewn, behind that 
cloud of theories, passions, and chimeras, crossing, jostling, 
and devouring one another in the fog lit up only by their 
flashes, beyond that sound of the human word which 
speaks all tongues at the same time through all mouths, 
under that violent whirlwind of things, men, and ideas 
called the nineteenth century, who does not feel that 
something great is being accomplished ? 

God remains calm and does his work. 


53 So\